Cherie Buckner-Webb Park is the City of Boise’s newest downtown urban park. It replaced a private surface parking lot with a destination community space open to everyone.
Cherie Buckner-Webb Park
1100 W Bannock St.
Westside Downtown Boise is an evolving neighborhood that lacks adequate public space amenities for the growing population of residents and businesses. The public voiced a need for parks and public spaces in Westside Downtown during public workshops in 2016. The resulting master plan, City of Boise’s Downtown Parks and Public Spaces Master Plan, embodied this input by recommending the creation of a distinctive urban open space near the intersection of 11th Street and Bannock Street. A public-private partnership in 2019 between CCDC, The City of Boise, and Eleven Eleven West Jefferson, LLC, has made possible the ability to create that distinctive space for Boise residents and workers to enjoy. It is now known as Cherie-Buckner Webb Park.
The park provides a place for people to connect with the outdoors on a daily basis, serve as a hub for community events, and enhance the urban lifestyle of downtown employees, residents, shoppers, and visitors. The half-acre site is surrounded by surface parking lots that detract from downtown’s vibrancy, walkability, and economic vitality.
Situated along a bicycle corridor to and from downtown, the park includes amenities that enhance the downtown pedestrian and cycling experience with streetscape improvements and key features including:
- A large, tree-lined green space
- Public art
- Shaded seating
- New streetscapes along all three street frontages
- Pedestrian alley with limited auto access
- Public restrooms
- Places to store bikes
The park at 11th and Bannock is named after trailblazing Idahoan Cherie Buckner-Webb.
Buckner-Webb has spent her career breaking down barriers. She was the first Black woman elected to the Idaho Legislature, serving in the state House of Representatives from 2010 to 2012 and then serving three terms in the Idaho State Senate, wrapping up her final term in 2020.
She is a fierce human rights advocate who has dedicated much of her life to the Boise community. She worked tirelessly to create the Idaho Black History Museum in the historic St. Paul Baptist Church – her great-grandfather’s former church – now located in Julia Davis Park. Her son, Phillip Thompson, runs the museum and is carrying on her legacy of local service.
Buckner-Webb has also served on the boards of a variety of local nonprofits and organizations, including the Women’s and Children’s Alliance, the Idaho Human Rights Education Center, and the Andrus Center for Public Policy, among others. She also owns a local consulting and coaching business that develops diversity training for executives.
Inspiration for the park name came directly from citizen submissions gathered during a public engagement process in 2021. A group of project stakeholders tasked with sorting through the more than 1,200 name ideas identified the submission and the Boise City Council unanimously approved the name.
In December 2019, Boise City Council approved the selection of public artist Matthew Mazzotta. The recommendation came from the Capital City Development Corporation Board, the Arts & History Commission and the artist selection committee. Mazzotta hosted an “outdoor living room” session in January 2020 to gather public input and learn more about the space and the vision residents have for the area. Mazzotta used this feedback to develop two public art design concepts that were presented to the community for feedback. A public feedback survey form was released by Boise City Department of Arts & History during the week of July 20th and closed on July 31st. Nearly 200 comments were collected, with a majority of comments in favor of the “Gentle Breeze” design option. The design concept and public feedback were presented to and approved by the community-based selection panel, the CCDC Board, the Arts & History Commission, and Boise City Council.
The artwork was installed during the summer of 2021 and is the newest addition to the city’s public art collection.
Input from the community regarding park design, amenities and features began in June 2018 with a public open house held across the street from the park site and coordinated by Boise Parks and Recreation. Additionally, a public survey was conducted to receive feedback from interested people unable to attend the open house. Results from the open house and survey show the following priorities from Boise residents:
- A majority of participants wanted to see an interactive public art feature that connects to the park’s role as an oasis amid an active, urban environment
- A desire for a sustainable, low cost, low maintenance water feature, such as a fog feature element was desired by participants
- Trees and shade, native plants and flexible event space were also top priorities
- Food/dining was a theme often mentioned by participants