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Mayor Tammy’s Musings(3)

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Recently student leaders from Meridian and Nampa high schools recently gathered for the first ever Treasure Valley Youth Summit to discuss and seek solutions to difficult issues facing today’s youth.  Through a series of guest speakers, presentations, and hands on activities, teens who attended the event at Wahooz Family Fun Zone explored the timely issues of distracted driving, bullying, and substance abuse prevention.

The event, planned and implemented by the Meridian Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council (MYAC), was the culmination of the group’s year-long efforts to help the City establish and pursue an agenda for youth and to participate in events and initiatives designed to enhance the youth experience in our community.

This year’s MYAC was one of the largest and most dedicated groups ever; engaging approximately 60 members representing eight area high schools.

Last week, the group’s outgoing and newly elected chair’s stood before the Meridian City Council and presented a summary of MYAC’s achievements from the past nine-month school year. It has been an incredible year of involvement and accomplishments!

Among the MYAC’s most ambitious and successful projects was the follow-up work they did to advocate for a state-wide texting ban.  They took their concerns and voices all the way to the statehouse, addressing legislative committees and raising awareness of the dangers of texting while driving and were successful in helping to persuade action by the Idaho State Legislature and Governor.

In keeping with their interest in government affairs, MYAC also held a legislative breakfast for Meridian-area legislators and hosted mayoral/city council and legislative candidate forums in an effort to help citizens make informed choices at the polls.

This group’s energy was boundless outside the governmental realm as well. Whether performing yard maintenance and landscaping tasks as part of Rake Up Meridian or educating residents about the importance and ease of recycling by handing our reusable shopping bags outside local grocery stores, they planned and implemented their projects with enthusiasm and confidence.

MYAC delighted the audience at its second annual Ignite Meridian speaking and idea competition, and entertained other local youth through monthly activities planned by its Teen Activities Committee. These diverse and creative activities included an ice skating party, a Halloween haunted house, and an evening of fun at Wahooz.

I am incredibly proud of the members of my Youth Advisory and appreciate the time and energy they put into their endeavors this year. Their tenacity, curiosity, enthusiasm, and willingness to work together to address important issues and contribute to their community set a sterling example we’d all be wise to follow as we continue to work collaboratively on making our community the best it can possibly be.



Recreational Pathways

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By Jay Gibbons, Parks & Pathways Project Manager

Pathway connections epitomize the City’s emphasis on being a great place to ‘Live, Work, and Raise a Family.’  We endeavor to provide and maintain pathways throughout the City for citizens to pursue healthy lifestyles, recreate with their children, and for use as alternative transportation routes.  The City’s pathway network has come a long way since the original Pathways Master Plan was implemented in 2007.  The development community has generously provided numerous pathway connections through and between neighborhoods, subdivisions, and commercial areas. 


Because the master plan is still relatively new, many opportunities to provide pathway connections in partnership with the development community were missed in older sections of town.  The City is committed to identifying potential pathway connections to downtown.  This involves working with property owners, irrigation districts, ACHD, and businesses; and ultimately, building new pathways, sidewalks, and bike lanes.  Currently, a new pathway project is underway on Pine Avenue as part of the Five Mile Creek Pathway project.  This is one of several concerted efforts to provide pedestrian and bicycle links to and from established neighborhoods, parks, and businesses.


The Fivemile Creek Pathway project will provide a ten-foot-wide pathway from the point where the creek crosses under Pine Avenue, heading west approximately 900 feet along Pine Street, turning north, and following the Five Mile Creek to Badley Avenue.  Efforts are ongoing to identify a route between Badley and Fairview and to secure pathway easements from willing property owners.  The project is being funded by a Community Development Block Grant.  The construction project kicked off in early March and is progressing well, in spite of the uncertainty of spring weather.  It is anticipated that the project will be completed and open to the public by the end of June. 


We are all thankful for the willingness of our neighbors in the Danbury Fair and Sterling Creek subdivisions, private property owners John and Shannon Uriona, and BW Meridian, Inc. for working with the City to get this pathway to construction.  In addition, we look forward to seeing many of you on the pathway in coming weeks!


Click here for more information about Meridian’s pathways, parks, and bikeways.  


Mayor Tammy’s Musings Youth Art

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Have you ever observed your child or another intently concentrating on making exuberant flourishes with bright crayons, or watched young ones spread colorful finger paints over smooth paper with their small fingers? If so, then you’ve seen the joyful expressions of art explored and have witnessed creative art in process.


Most of us know that art is important for our children – an opportunity to explore and express themselves – we witness it in our children or through others. But beyond what we feel and believe, there is also much factual information about why art is important in young peoples’ lives.


Creating art expands a youngster's ability to interact with the world around them, and provides them with a new set of skills for self-expression and communication. Not only does art help to develop the right side of the brain, it also cultivates important skills that benefit a child's overall physical and emotional development.


But art goes far beyond the tangible statistics measured by studies -- it can become a pivotal mode of uninhibited self-expression and amazement for a child. You might say that art matters the same way language matters. It is a fundamental component of what makes us uniquely human.


Here at the City, we encourage young artists in a variety of ways.


From now until the end of May, Initial Point Gallery, located on the third floor of Meridian City Hall, will be filled with student art. This month-long exhibit, which includes more than 60 works of art by 40 local school students of all ages, was coordinated by Rocky Mountain High School student Megan Murphy, who is the youth representative member of the Meridian Arts Commission. I hope you’ll take time to come and view the art. It’s colorful, thought-provoking, and as diverse as the creative youngsters who created it. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised and delighted as I always am, by the high level of talent on display. The gallery is free and open to the public on weekdays from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, with the exception of major holidays.   


Throughout the year, our Parks and Recreation Department offers a variety of youth art classes at the Meridian Community Center. This summer, local artist Brian Schreiner will instruct a series of themed multi-media art camps for a variety of age groups. Details are available in the Spring/Summer 2012 Activity Guide which you can access from the City of Meridian website.


The Meridian Arts Commission has successfully launched an Artist in Residence program. The program brings professional artists into schools to provide students with an opportunity to make art that would generally be too complex to create in an ordinary classroom setting or without the expertise, instruction, and supplies of a professional artist. This year, students at River Valley Elementary and the Christine Donnell School participated in art projects made possible through this program. 


A growing collection of art created by students from Joint School District No. 2 decorates the walls of the Mayor’s Office at City Hall. These winning pieces from the school district’s annual student art competitions include a pencil sketch, a water color, photograph, and oil and acrylic paintings – showcasing the incredible artistic talent being nurtured within our schools.


As youth art continues to play a growing role in our community, I hope you’ll come to see that art education develops self-esteem, appreciation of the work of others, self-expression, cooperation with others, and critical thinking – all skills vital to the success of our future leaders, our children.



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Many of you, as am I, are eagerly awaiting the opening of the new businesses under construction in the Meridian Town Center at the northeast corner of Eagle Road & Fairview Avenue, as well as Julius M. Kleiner Memorial Park directly across Records Avenue to the east.  

This project represents one of the most fabulous commercial projects ever developed in Idaho – right here in our city! When finished, the lifestyle center will consist of more than 1,032,215 square feet of retail, entertainment, restaurant and office uses with apartments overlooking Kleiner Park.

You’ve probably heard a lot of rumors about which businesses are coming. So far, Big Al’s Bowling & Sports Bar, Marshall’s, Gordmans, Petco, Tilly’s, Nike, Gap, and Chick-fil-A have been approved for development and are in the construction process. Seven (7) other multi-tenant buildings have also been approved that are proposed to house retail, restaurant, and office uses. 

Gordmans and Big Al’s are slated to commence the openings in early August with the others quickly following. The grand opening of Kleiner Memorial Park is planned for June 9th.

A movie theatre is proposed within the area known as the Village at the southeast end of the center along with a large central plaza area. The plaza will offer folks a beautifully landscaped area to rest on benches under mature shade trees in an Italian themed setting while watching dancing fountains choreographed to music & lights inspired by those at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.

A seasonal outdoor ice skating rink, two glass & Tuscan column pavilions housing fast food establishments overlooking the plaza, restaurants with doors that open onto the plaza during warm weather, Neri style kiosks, bronze statues, and a children’s play area are also planned.  Gas lamps will illuminate the plaza and provide an old world style ambiance after dark. During the Christmas season, there will be a Santa house & decorated Christmas tree.  Perhaps most importantly, along with the various shopping, eating, living, and entertainment opportunities this development will offer, a multitude of much needed jobs will also be created.