Esther Simplot clean-up costs $6.5 million

Posted at 5:36 PM, Jan 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-20 19:41:39-05

Crews are back on track in building Esther Simplot Park on the far side of Boise's West End, but thanks to unexpected industrial waste the project is behind schedule and millions over budget.

Crews spent a couple months extracting and removing dirt contaminated with petroleum and junkyard waste. Now with everything cleared out work is moving forward to try and open the park by summer.

Trucks continue to roll in and out of the future Esther Simplot Park between the Boise River and Whitewater Boulevard. But for a change of pace, it's fresh gear and construction materials being hauled in not tons of dirt being hauled out.

Hundreds of thousands of cubic yards contaminated with low level waste were removed to the tune of $6.5 million.

"It was a tremendous amount of material that needed to be excavated,” said Boise Parks and Rec Director Doug Holloway. “There's the testing of the material. That's an expense as well because an outside agency does its own testing. Then there's the hauling and the disposing of the material as well."

The contamination was so minimal the dirt could be directly dumped at the county waste facility. Now, the attention is focused forward to the completion of the park. The park will feature two new ponds with access to the Boise River, a lowlands walkway and a couple shelters.

"You've got all these unique water features that are going to be complementary to each other and we'll create our own little marina, if you will, right on the banks of the Boise River," said Holloway.

The construction now for the park itself is being paid by the Simplot Foundation. They have not released the total cost, but Holloway estimates the park would take $10 million to build.