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Viewpoint: What's ahead for Boise Parks and Recreation facilities, programs

Big improvements are in the works for Ann Morrison and Julia Davis Parks, Zoo Boise, Warm Springs Golf Course and more.

BOISE, Idaho — Did you know the Boise Parks and Recreation Department maintains 90 city parks, more than 200 miles of trails, 25 miles of the Boise River Greenbelt and hundreds of acres of open space? The department also runs Zoo Boise, two golf courses, community swimming pools and Idaho Ice World.

Now that spring has officially sprung, the Boise Parks and Rec staff is springing into action on their spring and summer projects, plans and programs.

Some of the big ones include the dedication of the brand new Ann Morrison Park fountain this spring, a new, fully accessible pedestrian-only trail on the Grove Trail in Hulls Gulch Reserve, the opening later this year of the Molenaar Park splash pad and skate park, and the Peasley Street Connection improvement project.

Credit: Boise Parks and Recreation Department
New fountain under construction at Ann Morrison Park in Boise, Idaho. The fountain is scheduled to be complete and dedicated later in the spring of 2023.

Work is also set to begin on the first phase of Zoo Boise's master plan. The first phase is called "The Heart of Zoo Boise."

Planning for the Warm Springs Golf Course's new facility is also underway, with construction possibly starting in late summer or early fall.

Every year Boise Parks and Rec makes additions, changes and improvements, and 2023 is no different.

"Of course we went through the pandemic and then we went through the year after the pandemic when we cut back on some of the programming that we were doing and even some of the projects," Boise Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway said. "Some of those things then stacked up, and here we are in 2023 with a long list of things we started in 2022 we're going to get done in 2023. And then we have probably 14 more new projects that we plan on launching in '24. So it's going to be a really, really busy time, but I think the really exciting part is our activity guide is back up to full force now, meaning that we have a full slate of programs that we're offering for this summer for our residents to take advantage of, and we're real excited about getting back to normal."

Holloway said they hope to open the new Ann Morrison Park fountain to the public on Memorial Day weekend. It's actually a ground-level water tunnel that will replace the old, cement fountain that Holloway says was aging and not very user friendly.

The water tunnel is 70 feet long and includes water jets and LED lights. The jets range from five feet to nearly seven feet tall.

The new fountain and benches cost just under $2 million. Holloway said the funding is a combination of city dollars and a $325,000 donation from the Harry W. Morrison Foundation. The Morrison Knudsen Foundation also kicked in $100,000.

On this edition of Viewpoint, Holloway talks more about how people will be able to enjoy the new water tunnel, and gives details on the Boise Parks and Recreation Department's big projects, plans and programs that are in the works for spring and summer.

Viewpoint airs Sunday mornings at 9 o'clock on KTVB Idaho's NewsChannel 7.

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