Ada County hears pitches from three landscape architecture firms on the future of Les Bois Park and Expo Idaho

Ada County hears pitches from three landscape architecture firms on the future of Les Bois Park and Expo Idaho

Ada County is on the lookout for a new associate to assist them approach for the future generation of Expo Idaho. 

On Tuesday, the Ada County Commissioners heard three back-to-back again displays from landscape architecture design and style corporations, both of those area and from in other places, who are vying for a agreement with the county to style and design a sprawling 90-acre park at the fairgrounds. This new park will span the location presently coated by the dilapidated horse stables and abandoned Les Bois racing observe, which presently sits vacant with the exception of the grandstand being applied for live shows at the Western Idaho Good. 

This is the most up-to-date phase in a decades-long dialogue at Ada County about how to redevelop the nearly 300-acre site, which contains the fairgrounds, Memorial Stadium, Woman Bird Park, acres of floor parking and the abandoned observe.

The upcoming of the Turf Club, which the county had an present for off-observe betting, continues to be unknown. None of the a few proposals the commissioners heard on Tuesday integrated the facility as an off-monitor betting location, and two out of the 3 didn’t appear to involve the constructing in the layout at all. One of the county’s other ARPA tasks is reroofing the developing.

Now, county personnel will rank the leading 3 finalist corporations dependent on a number of components. The Commissioners will pick the winning organization at an open up company meeting later this month. Even even though the corporations will be ranked, the commissioners will be in a position to decide on any of the a few companies they opt for, no matter of rating. 

The county designs to use federal American Rescue Program Act funds to support launch the park, but they have not settled on other funding sources to get the project completed. It is not known if they would produce an urban renewal district, privately fundraise, seek out grants, use county funds or any other resources to pay for a spectacular renovation of the place. 

Right here is a description of the 3 proposals, in the purchase in which they were introduced: 


Transferring the river to the footprint of the horse racing track is a main portion of Los Angeles-based mostly RIOS’ vision for the web site. 

A cornerstone for RIOS’ ideas for the park contain going the Boise River into the flood plain location of the park and growing it with many channels for drinking water to move via, bringing the river down into the larger sized loop of the existing horse racing track. With the monitor serving as a multi-use pathway for consumers to journey all-around to different features throughout the website, visitors could check out a pier on the northwest corner, a river education middle, various sports activities fields surrounded by the observe or a recently created “adventure island” in the center of the Boise River. 

A view of RIOS design strategy for the Expo Idaho web site. Photo: Margaret Carmel/BoiseDev

Jason Shinoda, a landscape architect with the company, told the commissioners the intention was to create a more dynamic, all-natural river location by splitting the river into channels and bringing it into the park. He stated this works by using the spots topography to its edge to make it a much more intriguing park for site visitors to discover. 

“Something that is significant is embracing the seasonal flux and dynamic features of the river,” Shinoda informed the commissioners. “We’re proposing to broaden the foldaway of the river to two channels which makes island times. We’re embracing the concept that drinking water will raise and recede by way of the lifestyle of the calendar year. It produces far more interesting activities for people.”

The revamped grandstand would keep on being intact and act as a gateway into the park with a plaza welcoming readers close to a freshly constructed neighborhood centre, approximately located in which the Turf Club at the moment sits. And in its place of preserving the grandstand as it is now with it’s again to the rest of Expo Idaho, RIOS envisioned making it possible for those entering the spot to see into the rest of the park as nicely as adding two spiral staircases to convey people from the ground up into the stands. 

Experience Island would have features like rock climbing, locations for mother nature viewing and ropes classes and the northwest corner of the park would consist of a pier for website visitors to glance out more than the Boise River. A pet dog park would also be provided, along with beach locations to enter the river with kayaks and rafts. The park would also have playgrounds for visitors. 

A see of the renovated grandstands, which would be opened up to the public, as you enter the park. Photograph: Margaret Carmel/BoiseDev

In response to a issue from a county staffer about the feasibility of obtaining the needed approvals to go the Boise River in time to use ARPA resources to fork out for it ahead of they expire, RIOS landscape architect Brent Jacobsen reported his group has encounter with large scale drinking water jobs and is well prepared to explore all of the elaborate aspects essential for the job to come to be a fact. 

“We have a water resources engineer on the group and we’d want to begin that early and discuss about what is possible and attainable,” he claimed. “We can consider by means of how that channel works, but we consider it is an significant go to feel about and see if we can reach it.”

The Land Group

Eagle-dependent agency The Land Team hopes to carry the adventurous Idaho backcountry dwelling to Ada County. 

This firm’s strategy envisions 5 districts of the park, all of which provide different buyers with various demands. The strategy calls for large open fields for enjoying and arranged athletics, a community-focused space with foods vans and local community gardens, a river district with place to wade and engage in in the water and a “destination playground” at the center of the challenge. This style and design would also maintain the present grandstand and turn the Turf Club into an schooling center centered on science, technologies, engineering, arts and math academic programming for pupils. 

A thought map of The Land Group’s proposal for the Expo Idaho web-site. Courtesy of The Land Team

Matt Adams mentioned the target for the park, and the Motion District at its coronary heart specifically, is to deliver a place for anyone to play, rock climb, operate trails and expertise character in Idaho’s biggest town like they would in McCall or Sunshine Valley. 

“You can do anything in this park that you can do in Idaho,” Adams mentioned. “It’s everything you could encounter in Idaho, but for a baby who cannot get there they can stroll down the road and practical experience those people pursuits. We develop fairness due to the fact we have a safe location to engage in with kids who are not from their local community. It is great to enjoy with folks that are not like you.”

A key element of the southern edge of the park is a community district with gardens, picnic parts, food items truck stalls, an orchard and a kitchen incubator. Kitchen area incubators permit food company house owners to rent kitchen room for pop-up functions, to develop items or or else pilot their organization with out the intense startup expenses of leasing a storefront of their own. There would also be a market on-web page for kitchen end users to offer their well prepared food stuff. 

The Industry District spot of the park would include things like miles of trails crisscrossing the park, large open up fields for recreation, character seeing and overflow space for occasions or sports activities game titles. The Land Team also designs a series of interpretive trails for the spot, which could educate guests on the historical past of Backyard City’s Chinese immigrant populace, the Oregon Trail and the Indigenous tribes who used to dwell in what is now Ada County ahead of it was settled by westerners. 

The River District will include things like spots for site visitors to stroll together the river, wade into the water and put watercraft in and out. And like RIOS, the Land Group proposes to make a welcoming plaza area all over the Grandstand to provide readers into the website. But, the heart of the project is a large playground with enjoy devices developed into natural options like boulders and trees, h2o attributes for little ones to enjoy in and towering participate in products that retains young ones risk-free but offers them the “perceived risk” they need to have to want to maintain coming again all over again and again for adventures at the park. 

A rendering of the proposed place playground at the Expo Idaho site from The Land Team. Courtesy of The Land Team

Throughout the concern and remedy part, Expo Idaho Director questioned about parking areas in the layout. Adams instructed him the goal would be to develop a park that is obtainable to buyers on foot, by bike and community transportation alternatively of just cars and trucks, but he admitted there could be much more of a want for parking for a regional park of this size with the sort of facilities he made. 

“For this vision, is it less than parked?” He claimed. “It could be. That could be a fair remark.”


The third agency competing for the structure deal also would like to embrace the contours of Expo Idaho’s flood basic, but in a various way. 

Philadelphia-primarily based company Port envisions a 25-acre phase of the undertaking spot on the western edge in the vicinity of the grandstand remaining employed for classic park facilities, ringed with two loops of multi-use pathways for pedestrians, cyclists and other users all-around sporting activities fields, sporting courts for tennis and pickleball and a cycling pump observe in front of the grandstand for site visitors to view the motion. 

An overview of PORT’s thought for the Expo Idaho web-site. Photograph: Margaret Carmel/BoiseDev

This section, called the “Heart of the Park,” would also involve a renovated grandstand and a new exploration middle for partnerships to present programming on agricultural heritage and environmental conservation. The massive lawn in this spot could also play host to concerts, events and recreation from visitors. The southern close of the park, dubbed desired destination perform, would include playgrounds, h2o capabilities and an area for skateboarders, rollerbladers and scooter riders to do tricks. 

Though this area of the park would be elevated, the large majority of the park would be referred to as the Lowlands and turned into a sprawling wetland marsh with 9 diverse habitats ranging from forests nearer to the river all the way to ponds and meadows. This spot would include things like walking paths, overlooks and other techniques visitors could walk or bicycle as a result of nature, whilst also embracing the parks pure inclination to flood because of the previous route of the Boise River. 

A rendering of the Lowlands portion of PORT’s proposal for the Expo Idaho website. Photo: Margaret Carmel/BoiseDev

Christopher Marcinkoski, a painter at Port, mentioned the purpose would be to use ARPA resources to carry the Coronary heart of the Park on the net initially and then slowly and gradually sort the Lowlands more than time by excavation, planting native species and loosening up the extended compacted soil at the center of the now-defunct keep track of. 

“This would be a landscape developed more than decades,” he explained, of the wetland region. “This is not a landscape we could make for calendar year 5, but a landscape we could produce in excess of a lengthy time period.”

Just one challenge Batista had with the style is the place of the pump observe immediately in entrance of the grandstand. He pointed out it would displace the Western Idaho Fair’s concert location, which generally hosts a group of 17,000 attendees. Marcinkoski reported there could be a stage established up on the fantastic garden in entrance of the Exploration Middle, but he said it would only host a number of thousand persons. But, he said the style is versatile and can be adjusted to accommodate the county’s requires.