GARDEN CITY, Idaho — Garden City has operated in the shadow of Boise for decades, but new urban renewal projects along the Boise River has turned the land that was once home to Chinese gardens into the new hot spot to socialize.
"We've got a lot of pride that's developed in the city over the years, and people are big fish in our pond; so individuals, businesses have an opportunity to operate in a theatre that's less competition, frankly,"Garden City mayor John Evans said.
You can tell how proud Evans is when he talks about what's happened in the last few years, and what the future still holds. For instance, take the new and improved Heron Park which will allow Greenbelt users a place to stop and rest, and offer rafters and floaters a place to put in or take out.
So what's behind this gradual and consistent comeback? Evans says it starts with the river.
"We've had people who have lived here for years with property that have gotten older; property ended up in estates, people selling to retire. The development community has recognized the value of the river here."
And what's happening between 42nd and 43rd streets has become a model for other city leaders around the country: The Boys and Girls Club, a new cafeteria that takes care of 300 kids at a time, new S.T.E.M. school and more open space for outdoor fun. The Mayor says it was collaborative effort.
"Couldn't have done it without the city, couldn't have done it with the private developer, couldn't have done it without thew philanthropy of Albertsons, couldn't have done it without the entity that funded the school," Evans said.
Just down the street, you'll find two new places to call home. A new affordable housing complex with 64 units, and "across the street, we've got town homes that are market rate and certainly don't fir into the affordable housing category; same developer did both projects and it work, they're neighbors," Evans explained.
And that's what Mayor Evans hopes to see more of. Diverse neighborhoods with diverse businesses that shadow the Boise River.