Having destinations for families and friends to go to is an important part of our community and includes having a vibrant downtown, attractive parks, and usable pathways.
Our downtown must be a place to go to, not drive through. A nearly year-long planning effort called Destination: Downtown created a long-term vision for the revitalization and growth of downtown Meridian's central core. This vision offers a wide array of residential opportunities, private office buildings, entertainment venues, quality dining and shopping options, and public gathering spaces to encourage social interaction and promote economic development.
Envisioned to be a pedestrian-friendly area, efforts are underway to create a more pedestrian-friendly thoroughfare with outdoor cafes, public art projects, and connectivity of retail, office, and urban living are encouraged for the area. With active events in downtown such as Concerts on Broadway, Public Works Week, and our annual Christmas in Meridian, combined with free wireless internet access, we are committed to creating a positive environment necessary for the redevelopment of downtown and success of businesses.
The City is working with the Meridian Development Corporation (MDC) and downtown businesses to foster an environment that encourages investment. We have made advancements with signage in downtown to help find businesses and parking; we performed a demonstration project creating a parklet to show what the experience can be in dining on a sidewalk, and are bringing public art to the area. In addition, our downtown walking tour is preserving our history and making it possible for families, students and visitors to learn about our history by visiting properties and buildings which helped shaped the character of our community.
They City is also examining the feasibility of bringing a 'Youth Farmers Market' to our downtown. This project will provide a unique event in the Treasure Valley and give kids an opportunity to showcase their hobbies, projects and passions while earning a profit.
Our focus on parks and pathways is to create positive experiences and lifelong memories. A great example of this vision is what exists in the creation of the Juluis M. Kleiner Memorial Park. This 60 acre park is our largest and is dedicated to more passive and traditional park uses. The enormity of this turn-key project where both the land and the improvements valued at $25 million were donated by Gene Kleiner can't be understated. Since its opening, the park has been home to great community events and private gatherings such as weddings. In addition, we now celebrate this donation on the second Saturday of June each year with Gene Kleiner Day.
In 2012 a groundbreaking ceremony was held on Aldape Park, another unique park donation of over 50 acres along the Boise River, with the creation of a 6 acre pond site. Planning is yet to begin on this future destination for our community.