Meridian: Feels Like Home
When the leaves turn colors and the wind picks up, most of us, like the birds and squirrels, feel the pull of home, wherever that may be. What does “home” mean to you? Is it the roof you sleep under at night? Is it a dot on a map? Most would agree that the word “home” connotes more than just an address. Home is a whole scrapbook of memories and people that make up who we are.
For example, when I was growing up, home was green chiles roasting at stands along the back roads, billows of dill-scented steam filling the kitchen when my mom canned pickles, and the sound of my dad raking leaves outside. Home was Friday night at the football stadium, a sea of teenagers in letterman’s jackets huddled together and blowing on cups of hot apple cider, and the enthusiastic clatter and honk of the marching band taking the field. Home was a trip to Serafini’s after practice for a cannoli that was half-eaten before I even got to the car, dropping in at the Padillas’ after school for homemade salsa so hot I teared up but so delicious it was worth it, and stopping by Carmen’s for tortillas that tasted like they were cooked over a campfire.
It’s the little things, knit together, that make where you live feel like home. In Meridian, home might be pancakes at the Legion Hall, salmon at the firefighters’ fundraiser, and hot lunch at the Senior Center. Home in Meridian means that you can close your eyes and hear kids laughing on the playground, ringers in the horseshoe pits, and bats cracking in the ballfield. Home in Meridian is the heavenly smell of chocolate when you walk by Preece Designer Chocolates, the beguiling taste of Gino’s secret-recipe dipping sauce, and the artistry of a Rick’s Press Room appetizer. Home in Meridian means reading Lila Hill’s column in the Valley Times, riding bikes down the Bud Porter Pathway, and stopping by the History Center at City Hall to see photographs and artifacts that tell the story of those who came before us.
To everyone whose thoughts turn to Meridian in the fall, welcome home!
By Jaycee Holman- City Clerk
It’s that time of year again. The time when leaves are starting to change color, the stores are full of Halloween candy and scary costumes and the political campaign season is in full swing. All of this is leading up to the Big Day…. November 2nd. Being part of the election process by taking the time to go out and vote is one of the most important things that you can do for your community. We encourage you to step out on Election Day and ensure that your voice is heard by casting your vote at your local polling place. If you have any questions about the election from where you vote, whether you are registered or the location of your polling place, we do our best to assist Ada County Elections in any way we can. We have created a link to the Ada County Elections site on our webpage at www.meridiancity.org. You can also call the City Clerk’s Office at 208-888-4433 and a Clerk will be happy to assist you and answer any questions you may have.
If you are already registered to vote, you can stop by our office before the Election and fill out a request for an absentee ballot. We will be happy to fax these in to Ada County Elections for you. The last day to request an absentee ballot is October 27th by 5:00 p.m.
If you would like to vote early, Ada County residents can do this starting October 12 through October 29, 2010 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Ada County Elections, 400 N. Benjamin Lane, Suite 100 (south of Emerald just west of Target) in Boise. Bring your photo I.D. and a piece of mail to verify your address.
If you would like to register to vote at your polling place on Election Day you will need a completed registration card, a photo I.D. and a document with your mailing address on it (no PO box).
The Qualifications to vote are that you must me a citizen of the USA, 18 years of age or older, a resident in the State 30 days prior to the Election and you must be registered.
If you have questions on Election Day, the Clerks Office will have two people stationed in the lobby of City Hall to answer your questions and to help direct you to your polling place. Now get out there and VOTE!
By, Tom Barry
Meridian, like other cities in the Treasure Valley, has been growing rapidly. As a result, Meridian is seeing frequent construction on area roadways along with the traffic congestion that comes with it. In the next few years a few major projects will impact how (and how quickly) you get around Meridian. As the famous saying goes, it has to get worse before it can get better. A few projects to keep in mind are the Locust Grove/McMillan Intersection (Winter 2010), the Pine/Linder Intersection (2012), and Meridian Road/Main Street Split Corridor Project (2013).
In an effort to reduce the duration of construction related traffic impacts, the City of Meridian will be undertaking some joint projects with the Ada County Highway District, also known as ACHD. When ACHD is planning to reconstruct a roadway or intersection, the City looks to see if any upcoming water line and sewer line projects can be constructed at the same time. This provides residents and utility ratepayers with the following benefits:
- Decreased cost of utility construction
- Stubbed water and sewer connections ready for future developments
- The roadway surface is smoother than if work is done separately (no patching)
- Projects may be constructed sooner than they would have been otherwise
The most noticeable benefit is that the roadway does not have to be under construction on two separate occasions with twice the delay to area motorists. Also, because a single construction contractor is used, the work can be completed more quickly than if two separate projects were constructed. The City wants you to know that we are working to make sure that your utilities are not only dependable and up to date, but that motorists are impacted as little as possible.
To help plan your commute accordingly, visit the Current Roadwork section of the ACHD website (http://www.achd.ada.id.us/Departments/PR/RITA/Default.aspx). Here you can find information on where and when road and lane closures will occur.
My eyesight isn’t what it used to be. Not that I could ever “see” the future (I don’t have a crystal ball) but in the times we live in, it’s really tough to predict what our community will look like year over year.
Between 2002 and 2007, the City was pretty much guaranteed to see at least a couple of new developments per month. While new construction has been down the last couple of years, we don’t stop planning for the future. As a city planner, I spend a fair amount of time preparing for growth and trying to make Meridian a better place to live, work and raise a family. Good planning does not happen in a vacuum, and that’s where the community comes in as we all have ideas about what makes Meridian great.
To help reach our desired destiny, the City has a Comprehensive Plan. The comprehensive plan is a document that describes our ideals, ideas and vision of the future, and we use that document to guide growth to be consistent with that vision. Specifically the comprehensive plan contains goals for many aspect of the community, such as land use, transportation, housing, parks and open space, infrastructure, public safety, and economic development. It also provides a community-wide framework for the many other plans and ongoing planning activities that are an integral part of life in Meridian.
The current version of the Comprehensive Plan has served the City well, but a lot has changed in our community since the plan was adopted in 2002. Our population has about doubled, we have many more acres of parks and schools, and we have multiple more miles of sewer and water lines – to name just a few of the changes. While a lot of the policies, goals and objectives of the current Comprehensive Plan are still relevant, some of the direction-setting action items need to be updated to reflect the values of the current residents, business owners, and youth. Once updated this will help clarifying what Meridian should look like in 10, 15 and 20 years time.
However, in order for this all to make sense, we need your help. We need to hear your ideas about what makes Meridian great and what direction the City is headed.
If you are interested in shaping the future of Meridian, I invite you to attend the October 19th town hall meeting. This community-friendly forum will allow members of the public to express their vision and needs for the future. During the meeting, participants will have an opportunity to hear about and review data that has been assembled by City staff, and provide input on revisions that should be proposed with an update to the City’s Comprehensive Plan.
I plan on seeing you on October 19th at 6:30 at the Meridian Library Main Branch, 1326 W. Cherry Lane.
NOTE: You can view Meridian’s current Comprehensive Plan, as well as the Draft 2010 Existing Conditions Report, online under the Planning Department’s portion of the City of Meridian web site at www.meridiancity.org.
Just when I think I’m completely filled with appreciation for this great community we live in with the fantastic partners we have and that things can’t possibly get any better, they do! On September 21, at a large gathering in the shadow of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., Meridian, Idaho, was introduced as one of the nation’s “100 Best Communities for Young People.” The announcement was made by representatives from the America’s Promise Alliance, the nation’s largest partnership organization dedicated to youth and children, and by the global financial services company ING. This is the third such recognition received in the last three months giving us all one more reason to celebrate Meridian.
Meridian is especially honored to receive this national distinction from America’s Promise for the last 3 out of 4 times. It affirms the great strides being made by so many of our community partners, such as the Joint School District No. 2, in making important differences in the lives of our city’s young people.
More than 350 American cities were considered for this honor that shared information detailing the many ways in which they make children and youth a priority in their cities and school districts. Particularly in helping youngsters succeed in school and preparing them for college and the demanding 21st century workforce. The winning communities like Meridian, span 37 states, and have taken steps to facilitate improved access to health care for young people, enhance local educational opportunities, encourage youth civic engagement, and supply developmental resources that create better places for young people to live and grow.
In her words of congratulations, Alliance President and CEO Marguerite Kondracke explained, “Through its innovative and far-reaching programs, Meridian is taking bold and effective steps to help their young people graduate and lead healthy, productive lives. Meridian serves as an example to inspire and educate other communities across the nation to tackle the challenges facing their city and children, and to implement initiatives that give them the essential resources they need to succeed in life.”
She went on to say that Meridian was named one of the nation’s 100 Best because of the community’s collective effort to ensure its young people feel accepted, respected and connected through unique and effective programs, citing examples including the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council, Meridian’s Promise, the Mayor’s & CEO’s Kids Book Club, the Meridian Anti-Drug Coalition, and the City of Meridian Scholarship Program.
Later this fall we’ll be planning a celebration sponsored by America’s Promise. At that time we will celebrate with the many local community partners who not only made this honor possible, but make this community what it is day in and day out. I hope you will be able to join us when that celebration occurs.
If you would like to learn more about America’s Promise or to see the entire 2010 list of 100 Best Communities for Young People and their accomplishments, please visit www.americaspromise.org/100Best. In addition, if you would like to share why you believe Meridian is ton of the best communities for young people, send me an email at email@example.com and together we can celebrate Meridian.
One of the most enjoyable elements of my job with the City of Meridian is to help keep track of and publicize the many community activities, events, and service projects taking place in our community. Fortunately, Meridian is never at a loss for fun things to do, and this weekend is no exception!
Friday night (Oct 1), you can cheer on the blue and gold as the Meridian High School football team takes on the Capital Eagles at 7:00 pm under the lights of Bronco Stadium. Mountain View High School will also be in action at 7:00 pm as Caldwell High pays a visit to the Maverick turf. Or you can take a jaunt over to New Plymouth to see if the Cole Valley Chargers can claim a victory over the New Plymouth Pilgrims. This game also begins at 7:00 pm.
Saturday morning would be the time to browse the fresh produce, local specialty foods, and artisan-made crafts at the Meridian Farmers Market and Bazaar. This outdoor market is open every Saturday, from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm through October 23rd, in its new location at 1836 E. Overland Road, on the south side of Meridian Road just west of the Majestic Cinemas.
Speaking of the Majestic Cinema, when was the last time you caught a really good movie? Now showing: The Social Network tells the inside story of Facebook; Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps features the always-cool Michael Douglas; You Again appears to be a funny, fast-paced chick-flick; and kids might really be enthralled by the owls of Legends of the Guardians. Check the newspaper or Internet for complete movie listings and times.
Also on Saturday (Oct.2), the Horsepower & Ponies event will be going on from 2:00 – 8:00 pm at Meridian Speedway. This event, which benefits the Personal Ponies program which provides miniature horses to children with disabilities, will feature a race car pit party, a classic car show-n-shine, kids activities, vendors, food concessions, and a concert by Nashville recording artist Andy Griggs. Admission is $10 for ages 12 and up, and free to those 11 and under.
Have you thought about treating your family to a visit to the Farmstead Corn Maze & Pumpkin Festival? In addition to having Idaho’s original corn maze, visitors can enjoy hayrides, live entertainment, farm-fresh food, a huge pumpkin patch, jumping pillow, straw-bale maze, live pig race shows, corn cannons, pony rides, and more. On Friday and Saturday nights the maze turns in to the Field of Screams, offering brave visitors a terrifying “haunted-house” style trip through the corn field. You’ll be screaming for your mummy!
Check out the details at www.farmsteadfestival.com.
Then I recommend that you top your weekend off – and help keep nostalgia alive – by stopping by the Hungry Onion Drive-In at 334 N. Main Street for a cool softie or to try their new sweet potato fries. Founded in 1958, the “Home of the Big Hungry” never fails to satisfy!
I could keep going, but I won’t. I think you get the idea. Meridian has year-round activities for individuals and families of all interests.
You can watch for Meridian activities by regularly visiting the Community Calendar on the City of Meridian’s website at www.meridiancity.org. You can also join the City of Meridian on Facebook and Twitter to receive occasional updates. So much to do; so little time… let’s get out and enjoy Meridian!