Growing pains for downtown Meridian? Local business owners weigh in.

Posted at 3:08 PM, Mar 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-18 10:15:49-04

MERIDIAN, Idaho — Not even a global pandemic can slow down growth across Southwest Idaho.

Once rural farmland, downtown Meridian is quickly becoming the latest town in Idaho to experience significant growth and development. Meridian's Director of Community Development Cameron Arial tells Idaho News 6 that 400 apartment units and about 50,000 square feet of commercial space are being built right now.

Arial said the vertical construction in the area is expected to continue for at least the next five years in what the city calls a "legacy project."

But some business owners are worried about the growth downtown.

Eric McFarland, current owner of Epi's Basque Restaurant, has been working there since 1999 and said he's seen the changes downtown has undergone over the years. But he worries a surge in growth too soon isn't sustainable for restaurants like his.

"What does that mean for me as a future business owner or other business owners that want to come here?" McFarland said.

The growth isn't a concern for everyone. Trevor Hill, owner of Barclay and Hill barbershop, said downtown Meridian is attractive because of its growth and location.

"Being an area that’s close to Boise but then also close to Nampa and Caldwell it’s just kind of conveniently in the middle," Hill said.