Tag: Idaho

Introducing “Amazing Place”

amazing-place-banner-700px
For decades, local economic development has revolved around enticing companies to relocate with tax breaks and subsidies. There are a lot of problems with this approach, but perhaps the biggest is that today, it’s a strategy that often simply doesn’t work.

A new trend in local economic development is emerging. Talented workers—and the companies who want to employ them—are increasingly moving to walkable neighborhoods served by transit, with a vibrant mix of restaurants, cafes, shops, cultural attractions, and affordable housing options.

Posted in Rebuilding Downtown, Reports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mayor Nancy Chaney on building a healthier, better connected community in Moscow, ID

Moscow IdahoFarmers’ market on Friendship Square in downtown Moscow, ID. Photo via the Moscow Chamber of Commerce.

Mayor Nancy Chaney of Moscow, ID, is working to help residents be healthier AND better connected to the broader region, and she sees smart growth strategies as a way to achieve both those goals at the same time.

“We pride ourselves on being a walkable, bikable community in the midst of rolling wheat fields, dried peas, and lentils,” Chaney says. “Smart growth means connecting people in the physical and social sense. It includes gathering places and public centers like Friendship Square in the heart of our downtown. And smart growth means providing for all residents regardless of their preferred mode of transportation—bicycles, strollers, wheelchairs. Smart growth gives Moscow’s residents this flexibility to choose whether to be in a motorized vehicle or to walk to a doctor’s appointment. Smart growth is about how people and place are interrelated.”

Posted in Idaho, Local Leaders Council | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What the BUILD Act could build: The Linen Building in Boise, Idaho


The Linen Building in Boise, ID. Photo by David Hale.

Later this month, the Treefort Music Festival will showcase hundreds of musicians in Boise, ID, and one of the festival’s central venues is a building that not long ago was a contaminated brownfield.

The Linen Building in downtown Boise was a vacant and blighted former laundry facility less than a decade ago, and posed a potential threat to the surrounding area due to environmental contamination. The building was a “brownfield”—a site formerly home to a factory, gas station or other industrial facility left polluted and hazardous, and requiring environmental remediation to be used again.

Posted in Brownfields, Featured Content, Idaho | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Smart Growth Stories: Teton County Commissioner Kathy Rinaldi on development strategies for long term prosperity

In the 1990s and 2000s, Teton County, ID was exploding. Its population growth was the 12th fastest in the entire country, and new home growth was the 6th fastest.

“We saw a palatable change in 10 years,” said Teton County Commissioner Kathy Rinaldi, a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council. “At one point we had 89 subdivisions in the approval process. It was complete insanity. And it was very quick, it was very slipshod. [Only] half the subdivisions were built out, some were never even started.”

Then, in the late 2000s, the national real estate bust brought development in Teton County to a grinding halt. Almost 7,000 subdivision lots were left vacant, and the construction industry – once the leading job sector in the county – was crippled. Runaway real estate speculation and a lack of development strategy both contributed to the bust.

Posted in Idaho, Local Leaders Council, Video | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kim Billimoria on preserving business and beauty in Yellowstone

The greater Yellowstone region stretches across Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, encompassing dozens of counties and mile after mile of unparalleled natural resources. Its stunning beauty attracts thousands of visitors every year and is the primary basis for economic development in the area. As a result, residents and tourists alike see significant value in preserving the environment and ensuring its existence for future generations.

That concern for the Yellowstone ecosystem as a vital community asset is the underlying principle of the Yellowstone Business Partnership.

“The Yellowstone business partnership is a non-profit organization that works at an eco-system level,” says the organization’s communications specialist Kim Billimoria. “It was founded by a group of business people that recognized that if we’re going to preserve the greater Yellowstone ecosystem – which is one of the largest last intact ecosystems in the entire world – we have to harness the power of business.”

Posted in Idaho, Montana, Smart growth stories, Video, Wyoming | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Councilmember Elaine Clegg on Boise, Idaho’s blueprint for success

City Councilmember Elaine Clegg is using her experience with smart growth development to create great neighborhoods in Boise, Idaho.

First elected to the City Council in 2003, Clegg believes Boise’s wealth of natural assets and existing infrastructure can be utilized to attract the kind of young, educated workers many leading companies demand. To accomplish those goals, however, the city must invest in the things that make a difference, creating places where people want to live and where they can walk or bike to shops, restaurants, schools and other amenities.

Posted in Featured Content, Idaho, Members and Main, Smart growth stories, Video | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kimberly, Idaho aims to implement cool planning program with aid from Smart Growth America’s technical assistance

Next week, Smart Growth America will meet with staff from the City of Kimberly, ID as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program aimed at assisting the City of Kimberly implement a cool planning program.

Residents are invited to attend the meeting, which will take place on Monday, March 12, 2012 from 6–8 p.m. at the new Rock Creek Fire Station.

The presentation and discussion will highlight how Kimberly can best plan for growth while enhancing community livability and economic sustainability. Staff will discuss how Kimberly can: Get Centered (creating a vibrant and attractive town center), Grow Compact (avoiding sprawl and minimizing vehicle miles traveled) and Make Streets Complete (making city roads safe for pedestrians and cyclists).

“We are very excited to have been selected for this incredible opportunity,” said Kimberly City Administrator, Polly Hulsey. “This assistance will allow professionals from around the country to converge on Kimberly and to meet with City leaders, business owners, builders, realtors and our citizens to help us maximize our resources, while helping guide us in the right direction for our future. We invite anyone interested to attend the program to provide input and join us in planning Kimberly’s future.”

Posted in Cool planning, Featured Content, Idaho, Technical assistance, Workshops | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A Citizen’s Guide for land use and transportation planning from Idaho Smart Growth

Over the past two years, Smart Growth America’s coalition partner Idaho Smart Growth has helped more than 20 communities around Idaho advocate for and implement healthy living policies. To help community members better engage in local planning decisions, Idaho Smart Growth recently published a new free and easy tool to help you. Idaho Smart Growth’s Citizen’s Guide can help advocates create vibrant, healthier communities that include parks, stores, restaurants, schools, and businesses all within a walkable neighborhood.

With funding and support from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, Idaho Smart Growth developed this guide as a resource for citizens who are interested in helping shape the future of their community and for people who are concerned about a specific land use or transportation proposal. The goal of the guide is to help citizen advocates get started by sharing background information on land use and transportation planning in Idaho, suggesting some steps you can take to get more involved, and defining the basics of smart growth.

The guide contains information specific to Idaho, as well as information that’s helpful to anyone interested in community planning, including tips for effective input on local comprehensive plans, steps for addressing development issues, and an overview of the benefits smart growth strategies can bring to a municipality. The guide also includes resource links and information about partner organizations.

Visit Idaho Smart Growth’s website to download the Citizen’s Guide >>

Posted in Blog, Coalition, Coalition Resources, Idaho, Members and Main, Resources | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment