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Downtown Summer Kickoff With Two Great Events!

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By Mayor Tammy

This weekend will be our Downtown Meridian Summer Kickoff – with two popular events on the calendar – Dairy Days and the start of the 2nd Annual Meridian Youth Farmers Market season in the Meridian City Hall Outdoor Plaza.

This year’s market is even bigger than the inaugural year! The market opens on Saturday, June 24 and runs every Saturday until September 2 (9am-12pm). With nearly 20 booths every week (and some weeks, nearly 30 booths) there will be plenty of fresh produce, baked good, arts and crafts, entertainment and food for the whole family. It’s a great way to shop local and support area youth as most vendors are youth! New this season: Cooking demonstrations that will take place most Saturdays at 10am. 

We are proud to partner with Epique Events and the Meridian Development Corporation for the Meridian Youth Farmers Market. Epique Events runs the weekly event and there is still room for vendors throughout the summer, so if you’re interested you can learn more at www.meridiancity.org/youthfarmersmarket.

The Meridian Youth Farmers Market will also have a float in the Dairy Days Parade which will be held on Friday, June 23 at 6:45pm. Thousands are expected to head to Downtown Meridian for the parade that will begin on Main Street at the Meridian Speedway, run north to East Fairview, then south on 2 ½ Street.  Get there early and find a place to enjoy this annual event.  And for those who generally drive through downtown be aware of the traffic impacts which go into place starting at 5pm. Visit our website for more details.

This year marks the 88th year of the Meridian Dairy Days (June 22-25) and the days are packed with entertainment for the whole family. Brown’s Carnival opens at 4pm on Thursday, June 22, along with the Pancake Feed that same day at 4pm, benefiting the Meridian Food Bank and the Meridian Injured Police Officers Fund. Friday, Saturday and Sunday including the parade, as I mentioned, along with live entertainment and a fireworks show at the Meridian Speedway on Friday at 10:30pm.

For a second consecutive year the Meridian Arts Commission has teamed up with the Dairy Board to host the Dairy Days Art Show. It will take place on Saturday, June 24 at 9am in Storey Park and will feature more than 20 local artists, art activities for kids, artist demonstrations and performances by local musicians and dance groups.

Finally, the Meridian Lion’s Club PRCA Rodeo adds to the fun-filled, weekend festivities. There are two opportunities to attend: Saturday, June 24 at 5pm and Sunday, June 25 at 2pm. The rodeo is located at Cherry Lane and McDermott.

I’m looking forward to this weekend as we celebrate traditions in Downtown Meridian, old and new - giving residents even more options for activities in our great community!

PLEASE NOTE: Meridian City Hall is a stop for the #WhereAreTheDairyDaysCows contest, along with other Downtown Meridian businesses June 18 - June 24. Find the hidden cow at any of the 9 participating locations and have your passport marked by the business (you can pick up a passport in the Mayor's Office at City Hall or other participating businesses). Submit your completed passport and you could win prizes!!  

meridian dairy days cow

Public Hearing Noticing Expanded to NextDoor for Pilot Program

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 By Mayor Tammy

Over the past several months we’ve had a few citizens raise concerns about the noticing process for public hearings. Whether they felt they should have been notified but weren’t, or they received notice but didn’t understand the information in the notice, or they felt the notice didn’t have enough information - we rolled up our sleeves and reviewed the current processes to see what more we could do. After fully vetting our process, we identified several areas we could improve on and/or pilot. First, we will implement some changes on the notice we mail to residents.  We also found one more key area where we can reach community members – online – via the social media tool called NextDoor.

Here’s some background: Public hearings are required by Idaho State Code on land use applications. Idaho Code requires the City to publish notice of hearings in an official newspaper (ours is the Meridian Press) and issue notice to all political subdivisions providing services within the City (ACHD, West Ada School District, irrigation districts, etc.). We do this. Knowing that more is needed than what Idaho Code calls for, the City also sends notice of the hearing via mail to property owners within 300 feet of the project (or 1,000 feet if the application is for a heavy industrial use or wireless communication facility).  In addition to these noticing requirements, the City requires an applicant to post a large sign(s) on the property that is the subject of the application with the date and time of the hearing, at least 10 days before the hearing. An applicant must also hold a neighborhood meeting and mail notice of the meeting to property owners within 300 feet of the project prior to an application being submitted.

After hearing the concerns, we’ve decided to go further and have launched a 6 month pilot project for noticing land use applications on NextDoor. Now, if your neighborhood is within a square mile of the project being proposed or if someone from your neighborhood received a postcard in the mail, you will see a notification of the project on NextDoor.  This notification will show up as a post and include a link to the application on our website.  This will allow immediate access to the information. While we hope this will create a more informed and engaged public, any comments that people have on the project will need to be sent to the City Clerk via mail, email or given as testimony at the Public Hearing so this can all be part of the public record.

If you aren’t on NextDoor and are interested in what might be proposed in your area, I encourage you to sign up! It is a social media platform for neighborhoods. Currently there are over 17,000 households on NextDoor in Meridian so it is one of the top ways for our City to reach the most residents online (www.nextdoor.com).  We know that in many communities this is where the conversation about development is already occurring; hopefully this will add to that discussion. 

One of our goals in the City’s Strategic Plan is to increase engagement and participation with citizens in the planning, operations, and decision making processes of the City. Posting these notices on NextDoor is a great addition and step in that direction - and is also in direct response to feedback we received from our citizens. We are always listening and looking for ways to improve our outreach and communication with residents – something that in this tech age is ever-evolving.  

I look forward to hearing your feedback on this pilot project.

Memorial Day Time Capsule

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By Mayor Tammy

The public is invited to attend the annual Memorial Day Tribute at the Rock of Honor Memorial in Kleiner Park on Monday, May 29, 2017 at 11am. New this year will be the burial of a time capsule, including community and military memorabilia. I am honored to have been asked to include the letter below for residents to read when it is opened in 2042 – in twenty five years…a lot can happen in that time! Aside from predicting our population at that time to be 175,000, I share the vision I see for our community based on work we’re doing today.

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It is with great pleasure that I write this letter to share with our Meridian residents in 2042 – I hope that I am here to read this letter to you in person. The time capsule from which you get this letter was put together in 2017, following a Memorial Day celebration at the Rock of Honor. We gather at the Rock of Honor twice a year to officially honor those from Meridian who have given the ultimate sacrifice in protecting and defending the freedoms that we enjoy each and every day. It is to those, who serve and have served, that I dedicate this letter as it is because of their service that we can continue to express our thoughts and I have the opportunity to write these words.

The Meridian of 2004, the year I first became mayor, was much different than the Meridian of 2017. In the span of just 13 short years Meridian grew from a small suburb to a bustling, destination community. Through our growth, however, we have not lost sight of our priorities of strong schools, beautiful parks, and outstanding public services of police, fire, water and sewer. It is my hope that these priorities are still thriving in the Meridian of 2042 just as they do today.

We have long focused on and held to our vision to be Idaho’s premier city to live, work and raise a family - and believe in 2042 we will be the premier community in the entire West.  Our vision for Meridian is a city with a vibrant and diverse business environment providing for living wage jobs; our strategic growth will ensure orderly development and a balance of resources; we will be a flexible and responsive government while safeguarding our health and safety; and that we will have plenty of opportunities to enjoy the arts, culture and recreation. I am optimistic by the time this letter is read that Meridian will have achieved such status as the premier community in the West.

In the spirit of a time capsule, I would like to make some additional specific predictions of what your Meridian looks like versus the one I live in today.

Meridian’s population will be 175,000 and we will have a housing/employment balance of 55/45; Our Health Science and Technology District will be the finest health care center in the Pacific Northwest; The City will be surrounded on all sides (by Nampa, Star, Eagle, Boise, and Kuna); however, the visitor or citizen will know when they arrive, as we will have attractive gateways providing that sense of arrival; Employment centers will be distributed throughout the City offering jobs closer to where people live; and connected through transportation corridors, providing synergistic value and mobility to interconnect; Meridian will continue to host the finest educational experience in the state through our partners – West Ada School District, Idaho State University, Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine, College of Western Idaho-Meridian campus, and private institutions offering degrees ranging from vocational-technical to Law degrees.

To my fellow Meridian residents of the future, I applaud you and thank you. We have laid the groundwork, but it is you who will have carried our torch forward by now. When this time capsule is opened, I hope you can appreciate the heritage of our community and that you now will be looking to the future and planning for continued bright days ahead, just as we have done.

#GowenStrong – Important for our Community, Families and Economy

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 By Mayor Tammy

I support #GowenStrong and I am urging our community to join me. The Citizen Airmen and women of the 124th Fighter Wing of the Idaho Air National Guard at Gowen Field are being considered as an Air National Guard base location for the F-35. As one of five finalists, Gowen Field is a smart decision as a preferred location - for the military, our economy, and our neighbors, friends, and family who serve in the Idaho National Guard.

If selected, the Idaho Air National Guard could expect to see approximately 18 to 24 F-35s that would replace the same number of A-10s currently stationed at Gowen Field. If selected, aircraft would begin to arrive in Boise in 2021/2022.

This is critical in keeping Gowen Field relevant and energized. We support this because we have guard members who depend on Gowen Field in our community. As well, the City has employees who are guard members. These are citizen-airmen and women with full-time jobs and families in our communities. Gowen Field’s location allows them to train before and after the full time work throughout the month and on weekends. This ensures they meet requirements and are able to proficiently perform their duties in order to deploy at a moment’s notice.

You may not realize the economic impact of Gowen Field as well. The Idaho National Guard is Idaho’s fourth largest employer at 5,255 employees – behind only St. Luke’s, Walmart, and Micron – and the 1,300 full and part time airmen in the Idaho Air National Guard are a significant component of the overall Guard operation. The Idaho Air National Guard is responsible for over 2,800 direct, indirect, and induced employees across the state - representing over $136 million annual total labor income (direct, indirect, induced) and over $155 million annual total economic impact (direct, indirect, induced).

If Gowen Field is selected for the F-35 mission, it will bring even more civilian jobs and opportunities to our state. According to the Utah Defense Alliance, it didn’t take long after Ogden was selected as a base for Lockheed Martin to open up shop nearby. This kind of potential economic impact would be huge for the Valley and will last for decades.

I stand along with my fellow Mayors in the area, and before you, in demonstrating my public support because it is imperative in the selection criteria to see strong support of our base! If you would like to show your support, you can write a letter to one of our local newspapers, contact our congressional delegation, or sign up to show your support.  You can learn more about all of these options by visiting gowenstrong.com.

The time is now to show we are #GowenStrong. Join me in not only supporting a critical piece of our economy, but also the families in our communities.  I support them and am honored to be part of our nation’s effort in pursing freedoms.

gowen-strong

Get Your Questions Answered on Wednesday

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By Mayor Tammy

The City of Meridian is going “Unplugged” at the next Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, April 26, 6:30pm – 8:00pm, at Cole Valley Christian High School (200 E. Carlton Ave)! What do we mean by this? Well, we simply want you, our residents, to set the agenda for the meeting. We want to hear from you! This is your chance to share what’s on your mind with myself and other City leaders.

We’ve already received questions about whether or not Costco is planning to build in Meridian – and we’ll respond to this and other questions you might have at the Town Hall. You may also be curious about what’s happening in Downtown Meridian, or maybe you’ve checked out our new financial transparent site called OpenGov and have some budget questions for us? We will be armed and ready with answers!

There’s no better way to make a City stronger than to get residents and City leaders in one room talking about the items that are at the forefront of their minds. To submit a question, simply email Jodi St-Martin, our Community Liaison at jst-martin@meridiancity.org. This will give us an opportunity to be prepared to bring information that might be helpful in addressing the question. Or, simply ask your question at the event that night or via the City of Meridian’s Twitter or Facebook pages (@MeridianIdaho).

Several of our City departments will have booths set up with information about upcoming events, activities and future amenities such as Meridian’s three new parks that are currently under construction. You will also have the opportunity to participate in our City Survey, an important tool we are using to gather citizen feedback regarding City services and the community.

If you can’t make it to the meeting, don’t worry because we’re not only recording the Town Hall, but we will also be live streaming the meeting. So even if you are unable to attend in person, but have a question, you can send it to us ahead of time and check out the answer via the live or recorded stream. You can find it by visiting our homepage (www.meridiancity.org) or click here.

Please come out and join us – even if you don’t have questions or a certain topic you want us to discuss. It will definitely be an “Unplugged” night full of information regarding our wonderful community.

I’ll see you on Wednesday!

Town Hall - April 2017

Do The Right on April 12

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By Mayor Tammy

 You are all invited to join us for Do The Right Day on Wednesday, April 12, 2017! Two years ago the City of Meridian, with the help of many partners, launched Do The Right – one day to start a movement of compassion by encouraging residents to do something kind for the person to their right - neighbors, family members, coworkers, or classmates. With bullying and other negativity so prevalent in today’s culture, we began a mission to encourage people to put a smile on the face of someone else with a nice word, simple note, gift, or act of service.  The success of this event over the past two years has been amazing with an overwhelming response from the community.  We distributed 7,500 #DoTheRight stickers last year and social media was packed with pictures from all over Meridian – even reaching other communities in the state and as far away as Texas!

The City was moved to do something to spur a movement of compassion and kindness after discussing bullying and teen suicide with our Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council.  It is something that definitely affects teens in our community and adults as well. That’s why we decided to make this an annual event for our city. You never know how one act of kindness can change someone’s life! We live in a giving and compassionate community and we want to keep it that way. This world is full of criticism and negativity and it’s time to focus on the positive.

I’m looking forward to participating in Do The Right and I am hopeful that all of you will join me!  You can take part by doing an act of kindness for the person to your right – it may be a cup of coffee for your coworker, a nice note for your classmate or even offering a helping hand to your neighbor - just let them know they matter.

For more information about the event, visit our website, www.meridiancity.org/dotheright.  We also have postcards you can download on that site to spread kind messages. Thanks for being a part of this movement and feel free to share your experience on April 12, 2017 on social media with the hashtag #DoTheRight. Let’s start a movement of compassion that carries on throughout the valley!

DTR profile pic

Springtime in #MyMeridian!

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By Mayor Tammy

After the non-traditional winter we just encountered, I’m sure most of you are with me in cheering on the arrival of spring!

This is such a beautiful and active time in our community! Every spring kicks off with the Mayor Tammy’s Walking Club – a great time for me to walk with local elementary students, encouraging them to establish healthy habits at a young age. We also have partnered with Fleet Feet Meridian on a new event every Monday here at Meridian City Hall. People of all ages and fitness levels are invited to Meridian Mondays, a social run/walk from 6pm-7pm. With the warmer temperatures, it’s a great time to get active and enjoy Meridian’s outdoor space!

One of my favorite events of the year is always held at the beginning of spring – ‘Do The Right’ Day (April 12). It’s one day set aside to encourage community members to do something kind for the person to your right. It’s a movement of compassion designed to carry on throughout the entire year!

Also in April - Unplug and Be Outside week (April 22-29), and this year’s event is bigger and better than ever!  The community is invited to the kickoff celebration for Unplug Week on Saturday, April 22 at Storey Park from 11am-3pm. This is a great time to pick-up our schedule of family friendly activities taking place throughout the week. Also at the kickoff event – a bike rodeo and helmet fitting and jump rope lessons from the popular Summerwind Skippers. The Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council (MYAC) will be there with a healthy demonstration along with many other vendors. For more information about this event and the activities throughout the week visit www.meridiancity.org/unplug.

New this spring is the Paws in the Park Dog Fair on May 20. Storey Bark Park has become a very popular gathering place for our community so it seemed appropriate to celebrate with a new event! Those who attend will have the opportunity to get a free, one-year City of Meridian dog license. This is important because licensed dogs make it easier to reunite dog owners with lost dogs. The event also includes K9 demos, vendors, music, food, beverages, dogs for adoption, and prizes.

Our Parks and Recreation crews are busy with events, and the construction of three new parks.  Soon we will celebrate the groundbreaking of Hillsdale Park – and two other parks, Reta Huskey and the Keith Bird Legacy Park are also under construction. These three parks are scheduled to open later this year!

It’s sure to be an eventful spring for our community – I look forward to seeing you out and about – enjoying all that our City has to offer!

For more information on City of Meridian events, visit www.meridiancity.org/events.