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Viewpoint: A look into projects, plans and programs for Boise Parks and Recreation

COVID-19 protocols are still in place for parks and programs, but Boise Parks and Rec expects a "more normal" summer than last.

BOISE, Idaho — With the temperatures warming up and the area greening up, it's the time of year more and more people start getting up off their couches and heading out to enjoy their favorite recreation spots. 

The City of Boise certainly has a lot of gems to enjoy. The Boise Parks and Recreation Department is working on a potpourri of projects, plans, and programs for this spring and summer.

Four outdoor city pools will open with pandemic protocols in place this summer. Those pools are Borah, Fairmont, Ivywild, and the Natatorium and Hydrotube pool. All pools were closed last year.

Eight city parks will host Summer Play Camp for kids at 50% capacity and with protocols in place, including mask-wearing.

As far as projects go, repairs will be made on several sections of the Boise River Greenbelt.

Construction is underway on two brand new city parks. One is in the heart of downtown at 11th and Bannock. It has not been named yet. Boise Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway said construction should be complete in late May. 

Bowler Park is under construction in the Surprise Valley area of Boise. Holloway hopes the ribbon will be cut on the park some time this summer.

Holloway says to expect this spring and summer to look and feel a lot more normal than last year at the parks, but not quite back to the way it used to be before the coronavirus.

"There's a big difference. I think last year heading into the summer there was so much uncertainty in our community, and we were doing things so differently," Holloway said. "We were just actually starting to get a few things back open in June and July, but nothing was normal. So I think as we move into this spring and summer of '21 there's a lot more things that are going to be happening. Certainly, there are still a lot of safety protocols and restrictions on what we're doing, but there's a lot more hope on things looking a lot more normal now coming into this summer, which is really exciting to see and exciting to hear."

Boise Parks and Rec is also working on plans for the re-dedication of the newly renovated Gene Harris Bandshell in Julia Davis Park. A human-caused fire badly damaged it in 2018. Holloway said a date for the ribbon cutting will be announced soon.

The department is also putting in a new fountain at Ann Morrison Park. Holloway said the nearly $1 million project should start soon and be finished by late summer or early fall. It will be a ground-level design and will have interactive water features.

On this edition of Viewpoint, we'll take a closer look at all of the plans and projects mentioned in this story, plus a pilot project that will start soon to test new management strategies for trails in the Boise foothills, and the impact COVID-19 is having on rec leagues in the city. 

Viewpoint airs Sunday mornings at 6:30 on KTVB.

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