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Boise advocates file parks protection initiative

A neon yellow sign reads: SAVE Murgoitio Park It’s Open Space Not For Development. In the background is a corner of the corn field currently on the Murgoitio parcel of land, with an older neighborhood on the other side of the canal overlooking the land.
Gustavo Sagrero
Boise State Public Radio
Signs like these have been popping up all around the Murgoitio parcel of land. The City is looking for ways to turn this land affordable housing. Locals want this to be a green-space.

Next year, Boise voters could force city officials to get their permission before making big changes to parks and open space.

Advocates delivered more than 10,000 signatures to city hall Wednesday to qualify the initiative for the ballot. If approved, it would require the city to get voter approval before altering, selling or swapping more than 5% of a particular park or open space area.

“Communities have grown up around them based on these expectations. Going into the middle of an area that’s designated to be used as a park and building on that is a real disruption to everything,” said David King, chair of the Boise Parks Association, which backs the initiative.

The move comes after a now-defunct plan to swap land set aside for Murgoitio Park just outside of southwest Boise limits to build affordable housing.

King said he and others are concerned officials might try similar developments with other city-owned park land. There are other options, he said, if the city wants to go that route.

“There’s public property that’s not designated for use as a park or designated for use as an open space. There’s nothing stopping development. What we’re doing here is trying to protect the parks and open space.”

If advocates turned in enough signatures to qualify the initiative for the ballot, the city council would have a chance to adopt the policy first before going to voters next November.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

Copyright 2022 Boise State Public Radio

I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season. If you have a tip, please get in touch!