by Mayor Tammy
We met with both our education and road partners over the past few weeks, further highlighting the importance of working together in order to continue to make Meridian the greatest home.
Most recently, this past Thursday, we met with the Ada County Highway District (ACHD). We discussed growth in South Meridian and North Kuna and the importance of the need for infrastructure improvements in that area. We also discussed the impact of “Project Bronco”, a major development with additional jobs coming to the Nampa area and what that will mean for Meridian. My concern that I stated during the meeting is that it’s going to mean more traffic without funding to ACHD to offset costs. That’s why it’s important our road agencies anticipate this effect, in order to minimize and be prepared for the impacts.
The most notable topic was a Linder Overpass – and the potential for that project to happen sooner, rather than later. This has been on the list for state projects for several decades. I’m happy to report that the City and ACHD both expressed interest in advancing this construction. The Locust Grove Overpass is a great example of what can happen when the City and ACHD work together. This project has relieved pressure on Eagle and Meridian Roads since it came to fruition. Commissioners said Locust Grove may not even be done today, had it not been for the City’s contribution of more than $1 million dollars for our portion of the agreement. ACHD is definitely interested in working toward a partnership to make the Linder Road project happen sooner, but they say timelines and cost are the major factors. Stay tuned!
Transportation and education are notoriously the largest concerns for our citizens. On the education side, we met with the West Ada School Board of Trustees a few weeks ago. The majority of the meeting was centered on school safety and the importance of our School Resource Officers in schools. We learned there are new school safety procedures under development that will soon be taught to students - making for a more consistent response within each district along with streamlined plans and terminology. The safety of our students is the number one priority and I’m grateful to see so much discussion around this topic and dedicated resources in making sure we stay vigilant.
During the meeting West Ada also shared a map of properties the district owns and a timeline for construction on some of those properties. In fact, just this last month they pulled permits for the construction of Owyhee High School and Pleasant View Elementary – both located in Northwest Meridian. Having this information is critical as we move forward in our planning process, especially as we continue with the Comprehensive Plan update this year to coordinate safety and infrastructure needs with ACHD and West Ada School District.
Speaking of planning and joint meetings, we wrapped up weeks of mutual discussions with our Planning and Zoning Commission. We have a lot of exciting things ahead for our community including an Opportunity Zone in Downtown Meridian. This was created by the federal ‘tax cuts and jobs act’ of 2017 to encourage long-term investments in certain census-tract areas. Opportunity Zones provide a tax incentive for investors to re-invest their unrealized capital gains into opportunity funds. These dedicated investments can either defer or eliminate capital gains taxes. Bottom line: Invest in the future of our community and pay less in taxes!
I want to thank all three groups for getting together. It is only by working together that we can ensure and improve the overall health and safety of our community.
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