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STATE OF 208: Opportunity-rich Kuna sees beginnings of economy boost

With more business on the horizon, city reps say Kuna homeowners' tax payments will be alleviated.
Posted at 10:27 PM, Jan 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-05 00:36:48-05

KUNA, ID — In the past, the rural town of Kuna may have seem a tad sleepy to some.

"People are buying services or goods in neighboring communities so, they might be picking up groceries on their way home to work, or they may be going to the Village [at Meridian] to get their clothes," said Lisa Holland, Economic Development Director, City of Kuna.

This type of consumer behavior is typical for what's considered a bedroom community-- or in other words-- a commuter town.

Recent data finds that more than 6,000 people who live in Kuna--in fact--leave Kuna to work. But now city officials are looking to lower that number.

One way they're doing that is by packing and selling what they are considering a great opportunity to bring retail and commercial businesses.

"56 percent of our services are being purchased in other areas, which is a great story for retail because it means we've got a lot of opportunity to capture those dollars," said Holland.

And so far their plan of boosting Kuna's economy proves promising.

"Smoky Mountain opened earlier this year, we've got Riceworks right now working on a downtown project. We've got-- Enrique's just moved and expanded their restaurant facility."

Even their housing market seems to be on the upswing, with the most new homes sold since pre-recession years, according to the city's recent data. But Kuna reps say they're seeing even more diverse forms of housing as well.

"Fourplexes, multi-family homes, and also some larger style homes-- and with that comes some commercial growth and so we do have some jobs that are working their way into Kuna," said Mayor Joe Stear, City of Kuna.

"Some people may not be able to afford their first home, aso it's important to have something for the rental market," said Holland.

And with more commercial and retail businesses in town, city officials say some burden will be lifted off local homeowners and taxpayers.

"The taxpayers don't have to pay for that growth-- growth pays for itself," said Stear.

"We're growing and we're hoping to see more people commuting towards Kuna-- less people commuting out of Kuna."

The city of Kuna is presenting an Entrepeneur's Bootcamp Series this month and next to help Idahoans with business planning strategies for the Kuna community.