Land Acquisition: On March 3, 2014, title to the 12 acres was acquired by IFPL. As the year continued, it became apparent that a second year (2015) would be required to complete both fundraising and remediation of former sewage lagoons located on the property. The purchase was completed with a final payment on December 8, 2015. At the January 2016 IFPL Board meeting, the Board of Directors moved to add the 12 acres to the Barber Pool Conservation Area.
Remediation: In late September and early October, 2015, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) oversaw the removal of all bio-solids and other contamination from the property and proceeded with final remediation of the site through a grant from the Brownfields Program as funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. IFPL received a Decommissioning Report and a Closure Report Approval Letter from DEQ dated January 21, 2016 – concluding the process by which your gifts and pledges proved instrumental in obtaining this public-private partnership and providing the expertise needed to achieve the site’s certified cleanup.
Design Process: IFPL has been fortunate to retain the pro bono services of locally renowned landscape architect Don Belts, the retired co-founder of Jensen-Belts Associates, who also provided the design for the William Shakespeare Park setting of Idaho Shakespeare Festival Amphitheater and Interpretive Center. Belts, in turn, has gained the pro bono collaboration of several engineers in exploring concepts for “open space” development of the 12 acres, which would incorporate limited public access in concert with the William Shakespeare Park.
A Proposed Master Plan narrative – authored by Belts – outlines a number of possible site improvements, including sections on:
- habitat restoration
- neighborhood access and connectivity
- rest Stop/trail head
- fencing and natural barriers
- public art
A bypass channel around Barber Dam, proposed by Trout Unlimited, also comes under consideration in the Belts conceptual design; as endorsed, along with the rest of the Master Plan, by a working group of more than 40 stakeholders participating in a series of five “charrette” meetings chaired by Belts.
The planning process and its design work have been designated as eligible for funding through a national placemaking initiative, called “Our Town,” under the administration of the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Here and Now: As the Foundation and its partners proceed to move forward creating a nested park in the middle of the high impact building in Barber Valley, our journey is far from over. We still need financial support to make this project reach its full potential.