BOISE, Idaho — The Murgoitio land south of West Victory Road is currently used for farming, but a new proposal would turn it into land used for housing by swapping the Murgoitio parcel for a parcel of land in the Foothills.
“A local developer, who also has some land holdings in the Boise Foothills, has approached the city with a proposal to trade Foothills property for our 160-acre Murgoitio site," said Doug Holloway, the director of Boise Parks and Recreation.
In order for the trade to happen, the city would first have to annex the land. In 1997, the City of Boise bought the land with the intention of developing it into a park at some point.
Even though the city bought it, it isn't technically inside city limits. The Murgoitio land is part of the area of impact.
“It’s basically the growth line for the city. If it chose to push our actual city limit line out, we could go out into that area of impact," Holloway said.
The original thought was that at some point, the city would annex the entire area of impact and develop the land into soccer and baseball fields. But, in 2021, Holloway said this plan doesn't make sense because the need isn't there anymore.
He said more fields have been developed in Boise and other nearby cities, like Meridian.
Holloway said in the land swap, the city would have the opportunity to preserve more than 500 acres of property in the Foothills, along with endangered vegetation and wildlife. Holloway added Boise's housing stock is low, and more is needed.
This land swap proposal would go through several steps and ultimately have to be approved by the city council in order for the land swap to happen.
Some residents who live near the parcel of land received a flyer in the mail inviting them to a virtual neighborhood meeting Thursday.
“I originally found out about Boise city’s plan to annex the park, which looking at the flyer, I was really excited about it because it said nothing about a land swap. It said nothing about their plans, just that they wanted to annex it, and I was really hoping that was their first step in actually developing this park," Samantha Renquin said.
Other Southwest Boise residents share Renquin's disappointment in this proposal.
“We don’t need to be trading out land or doing stuff. This is for our future, for our kids, not just for us but for everybody, the whole community here,” Jereme Johnson said.
Renquin and her kids said there aren't nearby parks within bike riding distance where they can play.
“If you go down to downtown Boise or the north end, you see parks everywhere, and not only are they nice green areas, but they have playground equipment, they have things to do, they have facilities.”
Marisa Keith, president of the Southwest Ada County Alliance Neighborhood Association, said Murgoitio was supposed to fix this.
“This was supposed to kind of bring equity to our area of town so that we have a large open space that the residents around here could use and enjoy.”
The association also started this petition to save the land from development. Holloway said he understands where these residents are coming from, but wants to share where the city is coming from. It comes down to funding.
The city would have the annex the entire area of impact to try to fund the park, but the tax support from southwest Boise wouldn't be enough to develop and maintain it. There would also have to be money to provide city services to southwest Boise residents, who currently receive services like fire and police from Ada County.