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Economy
Garden City, Idaho has a dynamic history. At different moments over the last 150 years, the town has been known for its agriculture, its gambling establishments, and its seedier adult shops. Just 11,000 people live in this four-square-mile town. Garden City is known for having some of the poorest neighborhoods in the Treasure Valley. The median income in the southeast part is below the federal poverty line. Mobile homes have been prevalent here for decades. But nearby, high-end homes – both new and established – serve as a stark contrast.One area that continues to grow with new development is the Waterfront District on the banks of the Boise River. New, modern homes represent a much needed increase in city's tax base. But experts say it's inevitable that as the District grows, residents of nearby mobile homes will be pushed out. And finding similarly-priced housing won't be easy. Garden City's 'hip factor' is also changing. In recent years, there's a fresh, creative energy that's arrived in Garden City. For some Boise artists, this less expensive industrial area is the perfect place to create their art. City officials want to see more of this, and have established a special zoning district to encourage people to live, work and create in Garden City.All of these topics and more are part of our "Growing Garden City" series.

Listen: Growing Garden City Community Conversation

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Frankie Barnhill
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Boise State Public Radio

On May 14, Boise State Public Radio hosted a Community Conversation on the issue of affordable housing in the Treasure Valley. The goal was to examine how new riverfront development in Garden City could affect this important part of the region’s housing stock. The event was part of the KBSX series called “Growing Garden City."

We were joined by Garden City Mayor John Evans, City Councilman Bill Mitchell, and Deanna Watson, the head of the Boise City/Ada County Housing Authority. 

Evans is a longtime resident of Garden City who made a career in residential real estate development in Ada and Canyon Counties. Mitchell is a Garden City resident and works as an attorney. Watson is a longtime affordable housing advocate. 

KBSX News Director Scott Graf moderated the forum, which was held at Cinder Wines in Garden City.

The evening's first question went to Mayor Evans, and was about the recent development of the Waterfront District. You can listen to the hour-long conversation below.