New park in Boise to serve as training tool

Posted at 4:58 PM, Mar 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-04 11:03:19-05
The new Esther Simplot Park promises 55 acres of ponds, trails and boardwalks along the Boise River.
As construction continues, Boise Parks and Recreation recognized another opportunity. Creating a much needed training area for the Boise Fire Department.
Old boats and cars sit at the bottom of the new ponds.
"We've got this great feature here, so we asked Boise Fire if we could collaborate with our search and rescue folks and create an opportunity that they could use the pond for training," said Doug Holloway, the director of Boise Parks and Recreation.
Search and rescue dive teams will use the cars to train underwater in a safe and realistic environment.
"We've emptied all the hazardous materials out of them, it's very safe. It’s not going to hurt the pond or the water. They'll be sunk and anchored to the bottom of the pond," Boise Fire Department Chief Dennis Doan explained. “Right now we drive all the way to Lucky Peak for our firefighters to train. This gives us a place right here in town that our divers can train in."
Esther Simplot Park is being built along the Boise River, just north of Quinn's Pond. Construction crews say the new ponds are filling up at about a foot of water a day. This summer the ponds should be ready for swimming, fishing and public scuba diving.
"These features will be of benefit to the dive team and also will create another recreational opportunity for the folks in our community that enjoy the sport of diving," Holloway said.
The project is creating an important training area for first responders.
"One of our firefighters a few years ago, died in the line of duty while doing a dive rescue." Chief Doan said. "These scenarios and these obstacles are really going to help our firefighters not only rescue others, but be safe and train in a safe manner."
Construction is scheduled to be complete this summer. For more information on Esther Simplot Park and the proposed plans, visit