UPDATE: BSU Eminent Domain and their baseball field

BSU in talks with private property owners
Posted at 9:16 AM, Oct 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-18 14:30:31-04

It's no secret that Boise State is bringing back it's baseball team for the first time in nearly 40 years, but what could be considered a secret is where they'll be playing.

"To represent Boise State University in this community is really an honor," said BSU Baseball Head Coach Gary Van Tol.

Head coach...check...players...check...stadium? In progress, and not an easy task to build on a campus that's in the middle of a metropolis.

"The slow growth of a university, especially one that's landlocked in the middle of a city, has to be something that's talked about for decades. I mean, there are houses right on the other side of this building, right? And we're trying to be conscious of that and how that works with these neighborhoods and how we fit in," said BSU Spokesman Greg Hahn.

The tentative plan would put the new Bronco ballpark right off Beacon Street, in between Euclid and Denver Avenues, building over a part of South Grant. Boise State owns a majority of the property within the plans, but not all of it, something that was discussed with the current property owners nearly a half-century ago.

"The planning folks at Boise State said yeah that's in the zone. We do know that in the future that's a place that's a place that Boise State staying in the city thinks that the university is going to grow but we don't see that coming any time soon so we support this conditional use permit back in 1972, so that's, what, 46 years ago. So it does take a long time," said Hahn.

Two of the three properties, a parking lot owned by a church and an eight-unit apartment building, are the properties that have not made a deal with Boise State quite yet.

"Understandably for these landowners, that's a big concern. You're at the peak of the market and I think that's kind of complicated things. Now it's just kind of assessments and making that right deal, and in the case of the church parking lot, making sure that there's some, making sure that the church which is across the street can get people in the door," said Hahn.

That's where eminent domain kicks in, which was granted to Boise State in mid-August. That means, if necessary, the university can seize the land it needs while compensating the landowners at or above market price. However, they say that's something that can hopefully be avoided.

"In every one that I've seen, that I've been able to find and talk to folks that have been here long enough, they've been negotiated and kind of resolved outside of actually filing for, or closing the deal on eminent domain," said Hahn.

And that's the hope for this situation...avoiding the use of eminent domain and making an agreement with the two properties.

"We're doing the best we can with the demands in growth in the space that we have which is sort of a land-locked urban university and it's a problem, it's an issue that I think urban universities face all over the place," said Hahn.

An issue they hope will see a resolution soon as Boise State's new baseball club is hoping to take the field for the first time in the spring of 2020.

We talked to the lawyer for the owners of the parking lot, the Boise Church of Christ, who gave us this statement:

"BSU and the Boise Church of Christ are working on a definitive agreement and have reached a compromise agreement in principle after extensive negotiations. We may issue a joint statement expanding on this at a later time."