Two weeks ago the City held our first town hall of 2010. This event was well attended by many members of our community who brought their questions and comments to be addressed by City leaders, and individuals were also treated to displays by our City Departments. I recognize that not everyone who wanted to attend was able. For those who could not make it we have compiled the questions asked at the Town Hall as well as the responses given. I hope what follows can serve as a resource to those who may have a similar concern, or perhaps provide information on a variety of items raised by other community members.
In what ways does the City promote Neighborhood Watch Programs?
The Meridian Police Department has a full-time staff member (Melissa Delaney) focused on crime prevention outreach. Our patrol officers and bicycle patrol officers recommend Neighborhood Watch as often as they can. National Night Out events are also opportunities we use to encourage neighborhoods to form Neighborhood Watch groups. Information packets are available from the Meridian Police Department describing how to start a Neighborhood Watch program.
In light of limited hours for public use of the Meridian Bark Park, what’s being done to see that people have a place(s) where they can exercise their dogs off-leash?
A task force has been formed to explore short-term and longer-term solutions for off-leash areas for dogs and perhaps a permanent dog park that could also house the animal shelter. It is important to note that the current dog park was originally designed to train and exercise law enforcement K-9s, and that a decision was made to allow for some public use as a temporary option to a desired need. Due to the park’s unexpected popularity and public use, the turf began to suffer and the public hours were cut back to let the turf rest. The City recognizes the public interest in a permanent dog park(s), but funding is an issue. Interested citizens are encouraged to give their input to the recently formed dog park task force and brainstorm fundraising ideas that might bring about a permanent dog park(s) sooner rather than later.
On a related note, last year more than 1,000 dogs were brought into Meridian’s animal shelter. The majority was returned to their owners; several were adopted out; and very few were euthanized. The shelter is run by a rotating staff of 70 – 90 volunteers.
Are there currently any plans for a large City swimming pool?
No, there are currently no plans in the place for a City swimming pool. Pools are very expensive to design, build, and maintain, and they don’t tend to be a self sustaining entity. The City has had discussions with other organizations regarding potential partnerships, but ?
Meridian’s current public swimming pool in Storey Park is owned and operated by the Western Ada Recreation District, not the City of Meridian.
My small subdivision feels it is unfairly being charged too high of an assessment by our local irrigation district. Could anything bad happen if we choose not to pay our assessment?
If you don’t pay your irrigation assessment, the irrigation district could stop water delivery and potentially put a lien or foreclosure on your properties.
Can anything be done about a neighbor who is harassing us with a number of extremely bright lights shining down on our home? We’ve spoken to code enforcement, our homeowners association, etc., but can’t get any resolution.
These issues can be difficult to resolve. While there is a State Code for Nuisance that could apply, it can be difficult to prove unless there is an overt act that is shown to have occurred. Unfortunately there are no ordinances or laws against being a rude or inconsiderate neighbor, even if you feel your neighbor’s actions are purposeful and meant to harass you.
Are there any plans for improving the Victory & Eagle Roads intersection?
ACHD is responsible for this, but the City hears from many of our residents about this particular intersection. There have been plans to improve it, but the plans have been delayed three or four times. An improvement is being proposed that would begin 2010 and be completed in 2011 involving widening and signalizing. The plan is to ratify the plan at a February 24 meeting at ACHD headquarters on 37th Street in Garden City. Residents are able to attend this hearing and make their opinions known.
If citizens have other traffic safety issues they can also be brought to the attention of the City’s Traffic Safety Committee which is comprised of ACHD staff, City staff, and concerned citizens.
Are there plans for stoplight to be installed at Pine & Linder?
Unfortunately, this project keeps getting delayed on ACHD’s project priority list due to budget constraints. The improvement for this intersection is scheduled for 2012.
What can and cannot be put down a kitchen sink disposal?
According to the Public Works Department, you should not put most foods down the disposal: in particular egg shells, fats or grease, chemicals, potato or carrot peelings, meat or bones down your disposal as these items can cause clogs. Prescription drugs should also not be placed in a kitchen sink disposal or flushed down the toilet. Residents can anonymously drop off unneeded and expired medications to the Meridian Police Department for proper disposal any time during regular business hours.
People are still having trouble with the new directions on the Split Corridor leading into downtown. They don’t seem to be aware that the left lane is required to turn left at Broadway, and I’ve seen several near misses.
ACHD and the Meridian Police Department are both very aware of this issue. Additional directional signage has been placed in the area and better pavement striping will be done in the spring. Police patrols have also stepped up in that area, watching for people having difficulty. The problem will be corrected in 2013 when Phase II of the Split Corridor project will curve the traffic through town in a more subtle way, especially between Main Street and Meridian Road.
How can residents find out about more City events?
People are encouraged to become more engaged with the City by visiting the City of Meridian website often, by subscribing to receive the City newsletter and other City documents via e-mail, by following the City on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, and by keeping an eye on the Community Calendar. Town Hall meetings like this are held at least three times per year, and Coffee with the Mayor gatherings are held five times a year. The upcoming State of the City Address on February 4 will also be a good opportunity to hear about what the City has been up to and what’s up around the bend.
I want to thank all of those who attended our Town Hall meeting. The City strives to meet with our residents outside the walls of City Hall on a regular basis and we look forward to the next opportunity. Do you have an idea for an upcoming Town Hall subject? If so I want to hear about it, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Together, we can celebrate Meridian as the premier place to live, work and raise a family.
First let me take a moment to introduce myself. I am the new Deputy Chief of Police for the Meridian Police Department and I am very excited to take on this new role and am extremely honored to serve the great men and women of the department. I have been with the MPD since September of 1996 and I have been lucky enough to have served in every division of the Police department. I have worked in the patrol, community services and criminal investigations divisions, so I have a feel for the importance of each division and know that one cannot function properly without the other. Hopefully this experience will help me when making decisions that impact each of these respective divisions. As I said I am very excited to take on this new role and to watch our agency continues to grow and excel in our Mission. I truly believe our Department is the best in the state and I want to see us grow into one of the best in the nation. Members of our Department know we work for a great community and we want to make sure we keep that communication and bond with our citizens.
I would also like to remind everyone about the construction taking place on Ten Mile Road. Everyone needs to be aware the construction zone starts on Ten Mile Road at Cherry Lane and continues all the way through Franklin Road. Part of that stretch is also a school zone, so we are asking our citizens to be extra diligent when driving through that area. Our Officers are working this area and we want to make sure everyone is kept safe.
In closing I would like to thank all of you citizens and the fine men and women of the Meridian Police Department for making our city a great place to live, work and play.
The Meridian Fire Department is often asked “what’s the right thing to do if I come upon a car wreck?” It’s a great question, and one that has a few different answers depending on the situation. First and foremost, it is extremely important you contact 911 immediately to get trained personnel responding. The dispatcher will ask you some very important questions such as:
· What is the location of the accident- this is needed to ensure a timely response
· Is anyone hurt or trapped- if you don’t not know, that’s ok! The most important thing to do is get emergency responders en route
· How many cars are involved- this will dictate how many emergency responders come to the scene
· What type of collision is involved- T-bone, rear-end, rollover, etc.
After completing your call to 911 it is very important to not try and take matters into your own hands. Often times bystanders perform actions that have good intentions, but can have a significant negative impact on the scene. Below is a list of the common “don’ts”:
· Do not attempt to move the car or roll it back onto its wheels if it’s rolled over- this can further injure any person’s inside and/or could reduce the ability for law enforcement to perform an accurate investigation
· Do not attempt to move anyone that is hurt inside the vehicle. Moving an injured person can sometimes make their injuries worse
· Do not attempt first aid to people inside the vehicle unless you are trained to do so. If you don’t have medical training, you can provide great assistance by simply keeping people involved in the accident calm until 911 responders arrive
People calling 911 often report that one or more of the vehicles is on fire. Only on rare occasions do we respond to a vehicle crash where a vehicle has caught fire. The majority of time the “smoke” callers see inside a vehicle is actually the powder in the air as a result of the airbag being deployed. Airbags are lined with a powdery substance (usually corn starch or talcum powder) in order to keep the bags from cracking during storage.
When emergency responders arrive on scene, give them a brief overview of what happened, who’s hurt, and any medical aid you have provided (if any). This information is important, but please keep it brief. Our responders train diligently on how to properly deal with these situations. Many of their actions are time sensitive, so it’s important to keep the report you give to them brief and “to the point”. Once the crews have completed their actions to mitigate the problem and/or treated injured victims, they will have time to talk to you in more detail. This is a great time to expand on any information you have, and it’s a great time for our crew’s to thank-you for your help! We recognize that a good partnership with our community is the best way to keep our City safe. If you have any questions on this topic, or any other topic, please don’t hesitate to contact your Fire Department. We are here to serve you!
Downtown Meridian has long been the heart of our community. It offers unique events and opportunities to the public throughout the year and is home to favorite restaurants like Rick’s Press Room, Flatbread Community Oven, and Epi’s. It serves as a meeting place for friends and family, is home to great organizations and entities like the Boys and Girls Club, the Meridian Food Bank, and the Meridian Community Center, and many others who have chosen this area for their place of business. Our downtown is a vibrant part of our community that gives us much to be proud of and to celebrate.
Downtown has many good things to offer today, but is far from reaching its true potential. Recently the Meridian Development Corporation began an urban renewal master planning process for our downtown. With the leadership of CRSA, representatives from the downtown community are working together to create a long-term vision for downtown Meridian. These volunteers represent a variety of different industries (business, service, non profit, media etc.) and are contributing their ideas on how Meridian’s downtown should look for the next 30 years. As well, they are discussing the many opportunities for the growth in our downtown core.
Known as “Destination Downtown” this effort is now halfway through the visioning process. The result will ultimately be a downtown that is welcoming and open for our citizens, and is both practical and functional for our business community. There is still time to have your voice heard on the future of downtown. This Wednesday, January 20, there will be an opportunity to find out more and provide feedback on the work done to date. A stakeholders meeting will be held from 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm at the old Farmers and Merchants Bank located at 703 N. Main Street. For more information about this meeting, to see the work done to date, or to learn more about the process, visit www.destination-downtown.org.
I also want to inform you about a new venue opening this week in downtown called “The Ground Floor.” We all know small businesses are the economic engines of our economy and are vital to the sustained growth of our local and regional economy. At start-up, small businesses can also be extremely vulnerable and in need of strong support. The Ground Floor will provide needed support to help cultivate healthy enterprises that create jobs and wealth, strengthen the economy, commercialize new technologies, and attract renewed vitality to our city’s downtown core.
Located at 136 E. Idaho, The Ground Floor is a modern connected workspace in a historic building in the heart of our community designed for Idaho entrepreneurs. This project is part of the redevelopment effort of the Meridian Development Corporation in conjunction with VengaWorks as the managing organization. The Ground Floor will provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs and business professionals to connect, collaborate and communicate with a wide network of talented individuals and companies. I’m sure it will quickly become a well-known hub of creativity, innovation, and encouragement, and that future tenants will eventually grow and become part of an entrepreneurial business cluster in our downtown.
I encourage you to make plans to attend the launch party for The Ground Floor on January 20 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 pm. The Ground Floor will be giving away one month of free rent to the first 10 guests to arrive! This opening will be preceded by the latest meeting of Jelly! — a co-working event that brings creative minds together to work alongside each other in a welcoming environment.
These are great opportunities to come and see what is taking place in our downtown. Come for the meetings, stay for dinner, then cap off your evening with a glass of wine at Corkscrews. When you're done, send me an email to tell me about your experience in downtown at email@example.com. Together, we can celebrate Meridian and the future of our downtown as the premier place to live, work and raise a family.
The Recreation Division of the Meridian Parks & Recreation Department is still running strong with the Adult Winter Volleyball league and Adult Basketball league. There are 26 men’s basketball teams split into four divisions. All games are played at Meridian Middle School, Monday through Thursday, from 7-10 p.m. with the playoffs starting up February 4th. This league only runs once a year for now, but I still encourage you to get on our interest list.
In addition, there are 67 Co-Ed Volleyball teams and 13 Women’s Volleyball teams consisting of eight divisions in the Co-Ed league and two divisions for the Women’s league. The Winter Volleyball league has grown from 55 teams last year to 80 teams this year. The Volleyball playoffs will begin January 26th and run through the end of February.
The next program to begin is Spring Volleyball. Last year we had 26 spring teams and expecting many more this spring. This league starts March 1st through mid June, and registration for the Spring Volleyball league will end February 5th, by 5 p.m.
The Recreation Division is expected to keep growing this year with the addition of a new Adult Flag Football program. This program will commence in September and will run through the middle of November. This is a non-contact, 6 on 6, competitive, flag football league meant for adults to get into shape while throwing the football around. Grab your friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family, and come out and play football. Registration for this program will begin mid-July and will end August 20th, by 5 p.m.
For more information on any of these activities or to get your name on an interest list, contact the Meridian Parks and Recreation Department by calling 888-3579 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am often asked by people how they can be more involved in our community. There are many ways to serve the citizens of Meridian such as sitting on a city board or commission or volunteering at a community event. While these are great ways to give of your time and talents, there are other great ways to make your mark in Meridian. Specifically, we rely on hearing from you about the issues that matter most to you – this is a great way for you to get involved, whether on a specific group/event or spending time to share your thoughts and opinions. Citizen involvement gives us as a community much to celebrate.
If you don’t have time or opportunity to serve on a committee or commission, or to volunteer for an event; there are other ways to have a voice. Meridian routinely holds City Council meetings in the evenings on the first, second, and fourth Tuesdays of each month. During these meetings we take public comment and testimony on land use and policy issues to be decided by the City Council. These meetings are primarily business in nature. We strive to make commenting on these specific agenda items flexible. Those not comfortable testifying in front of City Council, can write letters to express their opinion.
There are other ways to share your thoughts and provide feedback concerning your city. We have customer comment cards at City Hall, available online and our public safety personnel carrying these cards with them. The City’s website offers the email address of employees and elected officials alike and has social media sites open for interaction with the public. There is also the Coffee with the Mayor where you can talk directly with me or a number of Department Directors who manage various functions of the City.
The City also holds Town Hall meetings designed to allow opportunities for citizens to discuss issues and events and answer your questions. We have come into neighborhoods to talk about open spaces, the city budget, new services, and general information about the City. I am joined by representatives from every City Department and members of the City Council to answer whatever questions you have about the City.
This week we will kick off the New Year with our first Town Hall meeting of 2010. Titled ‘Meridian: Unplugged’, this event provides an opportunity for the public to engage in open dialogue and have questions answered by City elected officials and experts. I have already heard from a few people who want to know about the upcoming changes in our trash collection policies and how the City is doing financially. This unique opportunity is a great way to get involved and get answers in a question and answer format that is sure to make everyone feel at home. Please plan to join us on Wednesday, January 13, 2010 from 6:30 – 8:00 pm, at Heritage Middle School (4990 N Meridian Rd). City Departments will have displays to illustrate some of the things they are working on, and we will start taking questions at 7:00 pm.
In addition, there is also a transit related opportunity for you to provide comment this week as well. Valley Regional Transit has scheduled a public outreach meeting on Tuesday, January 12, from 5:00 – 7:00 pm to provide information and gather comments about proposed service changes to the ValleyRide bus system. One proposal is to change the current bus route through Central Valley Corporate Park, with options to bring the route to downtown Meridian, or past ISU-Meridian and the School District Service Center.
Public service is rewarding when we are working together for a better Meridian. I look forward to seeing you at this week’s Town Hall meeting or other upcoming events and encourage you to have your voice heard in 2010. If you have a question you want to ask on Wednesday, or if you can’t make it and would like a response to an issue you want to know more about, send me an email at email@example.com. Together, in 2010, let’s celebrate Meridian as the premier place to live, work and raise a family.
Involve the public! As city planners, we are taught that this is the most important aspect of planning; it is our job to seek out public comments and to have the public participate in the planning process.
Our greatest accomplishments within the City of Meridian Planning Department have been a result of great public participation and citizen involvement. Many times that citizen involvement results in a collaborative effort—such as the sign ordinance re-write I spoke about in my last blog. Sometimes, though, not everyone is pleased about what we were proposing—as in the case of our South Meridian Area Plan. In those cases, we listen. We listen, and then we try to develop a compromise or a solution that addresses the citizen concerns.
The point I want to make today is that any time that the public shows up to express their comments and concerns is a good event. As planners, we tend to know a little bit about a lot of things, but we don’t know everything. When the public testifies at a hearing or comes to an open house event, I always learn something new. I learn about an activity, a lifestyle, a farm and how it functions, or the history of an area. All these things make for better plans and better projects.
My plea to you all is to get involved. If you are so inclined, there just happens to be an event coming up. The City of Meridian will host a Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, January 13, 2010, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at Heritage Middle School. The theme is “Meridian: Unplugged” which means that you get to come and ask questions or tell us what is most important to you about the City of Meridian. Heritage Middle School is located at 4990 N. Meridian Road—on N. Meridian Road, just north of McMillan Road.
Nervous about what to ask, or want to get the most out of a public hearing? Please view this document on how to put your best foot forward.
With a new decade ahead of us, we get to look back on the last 10 years and learn from the good and the bad. The City of Meridian experienced tremendous growth, development and prosperity during the past 10 years. Meridian has learned many lessons from the economic, environmental and political issues experienced during the last 12 months to the past 10 years. It is a goal of Meridian to take these lessons learned and use them in establishing our future budgets and financial goals.
Meridian along with its neighboring cities had to overcome many of the recent financial obstacles set in the financial markets. With a constant attention to the budget, Meridian has presented the citizens a balanced budget for the past decade and held to that budget. The results can be seen on the financial statements and on the streets throughout the City. Meridian has a number of new parks, facilities, safety personnel and the New City Hall that can be enjoyed by all citizens.
What will 2010 have in store for Meridian…. The future will have many obstacles for the citizens and the City to overcome. With good leadership and the ability to deliver a balanced budget every year, Meridian will be able to stand proud during any economic climate. Meridian will continue to review and analyze economic reports for the city, county, state and nation to prepare itself in delivering a strong and balanced budget every year. Many efforts will be made to deliver a balanced budget without sacrificing the vision that the City has in striving to be a premier city to live, work, and raise a family.
For more information about the Budget for the City of Meridian, please contact the Office of Financial Management and Planning. Click Here for a link to our Contact Us webpage.
Many of you had the opportunity to read about three new retail stores that plan to open their doors in Meridian in the coming months. We are excited to welcome Hobby Lobby, Pristine Pools and Spas, and Dick’s Sporting Goods to Meridian. This blend of national and local businesses not only provide retail choices for those who live in Meridian, but they are bringing jobs in construction and then permanent jobs to the area, all of which gives us cause to celebrate as we start 2010. I want to take a few minutes to share some additional information about these three new members of our business community.
Hobby Lobby will open soon offering a variety of art, crafts, and projects for the do-it-yourself designer. This 55,000 square foot building will bring with it jobs where employees can expect a starting salary of at least $10.00 an hour. While many retailers struggled last year, Hobby Lobby recorded one of their best years ever. This strong national retailer is great news for the entire area.
A local Valley business will be making the move to Meridian, Pristine Pools and Spas. Currently located in other locations in the Treasure Valley, Pristine Pools and Spas is constructing a 24,000 square foot showroom, retail, and design center that will provide a one stop shop for all pool and spa needs. This unique facility will be the first of its kind in Idaho and bring the ‘possibilities’ to life in a virtual outdoor showroom. By offering a variety of services from design and construction to maintenance and supplies, they will handle both residential and commercial customers locally and across the country.
Dick’s Sporting Goods is also in the process of taking over the location formally held by another sporting goods retailer. Dick’s offers something for everyone including hunting and fishing, team sports, and a large selection of products to help us with our new year’s resolutions. This will be their first location in the state and is a great addition to our community.
These three businesses join the other 140 Meridian businesses that received permits for tenant improvements or new commercial construction projects in 2009, producing businesses like Gridiron Fitness and Rehabilitation, Chili’s, and the Idaho Dairy Production Commission . Commercial development in Meridian continues to grow and prosper—a trend that will continue in 2010. I encourage you to stop by and welcome these and the other new businesses to our community as they open their doors bringing investment, jobs, and services to our residents and the surrounding Valley.
If you know of a new business moving to town, I want to hear about it. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and together, we can celebrate Meridian as the premier place to live, work and raise a family.