Project Updates

Update: August 16, 2019

August 20 Library Presentation and Public Hearing Canceled

The Aug. 20 Main Library Campus presentation and the public hearing on the special election have been canceled.

The city canceled both meetings after Mayor Dave Bieter announced Friday, Aug. 16 that he is recommending to the Boise City Council that the city pause planning for the Main Library campus and no longer pursue a special election on the project because of two new pieces of information that came to light recently:

  1. Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane, the chief elections officer for the county, informed the city that he will not place the special election vote regarding the project on the ballot this November and that only legal action by the city could reverse his decision. With little time before ballots must be printed, Mayor Bieter decided that a court action simply isn’t viable at this time and would likely lead to further confusion among Boise residents.
  2. The project planning team informed the city that cost estimates have come in higher than expected. The hot construction market, coupled with extreme volatility in cost of building commodities, have escalated costs at a rate that outpaces the team’s efforts to trim costs. The latest estimates received from the project’s design and planning teams are approximately $19 million overbudget, with no guarantees that costs will not continue to escalate.

Once there’s a better understanding of how this new information impacts the project, the City of Boise will hold an open house for residents to give them an opportunity learn about these details and how the project will move forward.

Update: June 19, 2019

Public Hearing on Signature Initiatives - June 25 at 6 p.m.

A citizen-led initiative recently gathered sufficient signatures to place an ordinance on the November ballot asking citizens if a vote should be required on any library project costing more than $25 million. If successful, this "vote on whether to vote" would require a subsequent ballot measure on the actual Library Campus project.

The City Council is considering whether to let the “vote to vote” proceed or to pass the initiative ordinance so that the Library Campus project can be placed on the ballot in November,bypassing the need for two elections.

A public hearing on the initiatives will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 25 in the City Council Chambers at Boise City Hall, 150 N. Capitol Blvd. Following the public hearing, the council will consider how to proceed. 

Update: March 5, 2019

Log Cabin Public Hearing Vote + Next Steps

Aerial of Julia Davis Park and the Mail Library Campus identifying 4 locations for the Cabin
Proposed Locations for the Cabin

Thank you to everyone who submitted written testimony or offered in person testimony on the status of the Log Cabin as part of the Library Campus project during Boise City Council’s regular evening meeting held on Tuesday, February 26, 2019.

The hearing and discussion included a presentation from city staff about ongoing planning, negotiations and options for relocating the Log Cabin, stakeholder hearings by Preservation Idaho and the Log Cabin tenants, The Cabin, A Center for Readers & Writers, as well as General Public hearings.

A total of 169 testimonies were received, roughly 125 in writing and 49 in person. An estimated 150 participants attended the special hearing.

At the end of a four-hour meeting, the council came to an unanimous vote to move the Log Cabin to the east end of Julia Davis Park (Option 4 in staff presentation).

This site would allow the nonprofit to have a quiet area of the park to operate its summer camps, ensure parking and proper access to the structure, and likely retain its place on the National Register of Historic Places.

A drawback to the site is that it would put The Cabin on the edge of a floodplain, however city staff believes building a small wall in the area would prevent flooding and any damage to the structure.

In the next coming months, city staff will be working on answering these questions and fleshing out details for the new site.

Considering the vote, city staff and the project team will continue with schematic design. A second series of Open Houses is anticipated to be held in the fall or early winter 2019.

Enlarged view of East End of Julia Davis park showing more detail of the proposed location of the Cabin.
East End of Julia Davis Park - Proposed Location for The Cabin

Project Update: February 21, 2019

Public Hearing on Cabin Options Scheduled for Tuesday, February 26

Log cabin in snow with picnic tables in front.
The Cabin

The Boise City Council will hold a special public hearing on the status of the Log Cabin Tuesday, February 26. The hearing offers Boise residents the opportunity to hear and testify to council members about options for potentially moving the Log Cabin as part of City of Boise’s Library Campus project.

Originally scheduled for noon, next week’s council meeting will be moved to 6 p.m. to accommodate broader participation from residents in the hearing. The meeting will be held in the Maryanne Jordan City Council Chambers at Boise City Hall.

The hearing and discussion will include a presentation from city staff about ongoing planning, negotiations and options for relocating the Log Cabin, a city-owned building which is home to the literary arts non-profit organization known as The Cabin. As with all public hearings before the council, those who wish to speak will be given three minutes for their testimony. Sign up sheets for testifying will be available just outside of the council chambers before the meeting and speakers will be called upon in the order in which they signed up.

Project Update: January 24, 2019

Library Campus Update: Log Cabin, Boise Working Together, FAQS

Thanks to everyone for continuing to share your thoughts, ideas, concerns, and support for the Library Campus project. A lot has happened since our last update and we want to provide you with accurate project information and answer your questions.

Log Cabin Location

On Tuesday, November 27, 2018, Boise City Council reviewed and discussed Log Cabin location options that weighed the following community concerns:

  • Historic preservation
  • Programmatic needs of the Cabin non-profit organization
  • Increased connectivity with the greenbelt and river corridor—a project goal driven by community input received during Spring ‘17 Design Thinking Workshops.

Options included keeping the Cabin onsite or moving it to one of two locations in or directly adjacent to Julia Davis Park. The city council reviewed 322 comments received November 16-26 and heard testimony from Kurt Zwolfer, Executive Director of the Cabin and Frank Eld, Preservation Idaho board member. After careful consideration, the council voted 4:2 to move the Log Cabin to a new location but requested that the project team consider additional sites.

Council was expected to reconvene January 8, but the project-stakeholder team requested additional time to identify and analyze suitable alternative locations.

Schematic Design

On Tuesday, December 4, 2018, Boise City Council approved an $11 million contract for the schematic design phase of this project. Of this amount, more than $5.5 million will go to Boise-based architects and engineers. Safdie Architects will receive approximately $3.4 million. The balance of the contract will go to specialist consultants (environmental, health impact, etc.) and standard project allowances and expenses.

During the schematic design phase (December – April 2019*), the project team will:

  • Advance the design based on public input received on the conceptual designs and building program
  • Weigh design and engineering considerations to bring the project to budget ($80-85 million)
  • Finalize health impact assessment studies
  • Develop a sustainability strategy. This will include—but is not limited to—decisions on building materials and environmental impact and will address concerns about bird strikes and energy costs heard during the public input period in July 2018)

A second round of public input will follow the schematic design phase this spring.

Vote Initiative

On Friday, December 21, 2018, a local group called Boise Working Together proposed initiatives for calling for a pair of public votes: one on a mostly privately funded sports park and another on the Library Campus. The city attorney has reviewed the proposed initiatives and issued certificates of review that raise concerns about their constitutionality. At this time, it is unclear whether this group will move forward with the effort to solicit an advisory vote on the project.

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