City to Spend $650K on 40 Acres as Investment in Rec Future

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Copyright 2013 The Post Register
All Rights Reserved

Idaho Falls Post Register (Idaho)
October 25, 2013 Friday
Main Edition
A SECTION; Pg. A1
545 words
$650K deal for 40 acres is OK'd
By CHRISTINA LORDS,

The Idaho Falls City Council on Thursday night unanimously approved a $650,000 purchase agreement for 40 acres of farmland near the Idaho Falls Soccer Complex off West Broadway.

The agreement, which aims to expand the complex for new recreational opportunities years down the road, was introduced at the council's morning workshop session.

Under the agreement with Rosewood Contractors LLC, the land will be maintained for agricultural use through the 2014 crop season.

""This is an investment on the part of the city,"" City Council President Ida Hardcastle said. ""It isn't anything the city is going to do right away. If land becomes available (at a good price), then we need to grab it up.""

Public Works Director Chris Fredericksen said $600,000 of the price tag was for the land itself, while the remaining $50,000 will be used for water and sewer mains adjacent to West Broadway. Negotiations have been ongoing for several months, he said.

About $600,000 was put aside in the city's 2014 budget from the designated fund balance for the project, Municipal Services Director Craig Lords said. An exact purpose for the funds had not been discussed publicly until Thursday.

A map of the park, provided to the council at its morning workshop, shows four proposed softball fields, a skate park, an additional soccer field and a 12-foot-wide walking path. It also includes a proposed parking lot with 185 spaces, as well as a restroom, concessions and storage space.

""That is just a design or rendition; that's just an example,"" Lords said. ""The idea is to build onto that complex and draw people to the west side for things like softball and Little League.""

Parks and Recreation Director Greg Weitzel said the exact use of the property will be determined through public hearings and a long-term master plan. He said he hopes to have a master plan approved by the council in one to two years.

Funding for how to begin developing the land, he said, will also be decided in the future.

""This would be a definite plus to our community,"" Weitzel said. ""How long something like this would take to develop would first be up to the City Council and community overall for us to be able to (move forward).""

The 40-acre site is generally located adjacent to the west side of the existing soccer fields and the south portion of The Village Subdivision. The acreage is west of Old Butte Road and north of West Broadway.

The location is a smart investment for the city because it isn't located in a large residential area, Weitzel said, where noise and light fixtures can become a problem for neighbors.

""I thought the 40 acres was a good purchase,"" he said. ""The decision made a lot of sense for our planning for the future.""

Fredericksen said the area had been in the back of city leaders' minds to offer more park and recreational opportunities on the city's west side.

The existing complex, which was completed in the mid-1990s, has 12 soccer fields, restrooms and a playground area. Two of those fields are lit for play at night.

""As for future expansion for park facilities, especially on the west side, that's always been an area that's looked at,"" Fredericksen said. ""That size of (property) would be a huge draw for the area.""

Reporter Christina Lords can be reached at 542-6762.

October 25, 2013

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