by Mayor Simison
Meridian’s Vision is to be the West’s premier community in which to live, work and raise a family. Like any vision this takes time, planning, and deliberate efforts to be successful. We have an engaged community, dedicated employees, key stakeholders, and committed leaders to see our vision through and build upon the successes. Our five-year Strategic Plan was initiated at the beginning of this year and categorized into six focus areas: Transportation & Infrastructure; Responsible Growth; Business & Economic Vitality; Public Health & Safety; Vibrant & Sustainable Community; and Government Excellence. These focus areas help to drive specific goals and actions, which guide the work of the City.
One large area of focus for the city is Transportation & Infrastructure. Why? Well, transportation related issues have been the most important and highest priorities to the community according to our city surveys, including our most recent one www.meridiancity.org/citysurvey. While the City doesn’t have authority over our roads – that is the function of our partners at Ada County Highway District (ACHD) and Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) – one of our goals is to advance construction of roadway projects that promote efficient movement in Meridian.
We have been pushing for the Linder Road Overpass to be built and this past year, we worked with ACHD who just awarded the design of the project to Keller Associates, Inc. Once the three-party agreement with ACHD, ITD, and the City is finalized, work can begin. Additionally, Brighton Corporation - going above and beyond their requirements - is working with ACHD to widen Lake Hazel to help improve this roadway connection to Discovery Park in South Meridian. This will help our residents and our fire and police departments have improved roadways going to and from this location.
Another tool helping us on the transportation front are Urban Renewal Districts (URD). City Council recently approved the Linder Urban Renewal District, which is planned to help fund the construction of the Linder Road Overpass. We have created two additional new districts this year as well – the Northern Gateway and Union Districts – both of which will help us with transportation improvements in downtown Meridian. And while URDs help with transportation efforts, they also help the City grow responsibly and revitalize our downtown to enhance the quality of life for all residents.
Having a focus on infill projects in our downtown is part of Responsible Growth. We have the Old Town Lofts and Union 93 mixed-use projects located right by City Hall, under construction. And, just a few blocks over is the recently approved Civic Block. These three redevelopment projects are bringing a mix of residential units and commercial spaces to the historical heart of Meridian with the goal of encouraging residents to live, dine, and shop downtown.
Through our Business and Economic Vitality focus, we saw over 500 jobs created in 2021 within our targeted industries of professional services, technology, light manufacturing, and health care. These are family-wage jobs at places like Saltzer Healthcare, JST Manufacturing, and In-Time-Tec which help meet our focus of allowing residents to live and work in Meridian. While the City doesn’t create the jobs, we do work hard to provide the business environment and needed services for businesses to grow and invest. Ultimately, the more jobs we see in Meridian, the more successful we can be in achieving multiple goals in the strategic plan.
Another area of focus I want to touch on is Public Health and Safety. This past year, we have invested in bringing additional public safety services to the community. Currently, fire stations are being planned in SE Meridian at Discovery Park and NW Meridian near Owyhee High School with the goal to open in 2023. Additionally, the NW fire station will have a police precinct co-located on the property. All of these will enhance service delivery with reliability and improve response times to our community.
Speaking of Discovery Park, we will continue our work in being a Vibrant & Sustainable Community by improving public open spaces. Discovery Park Phase 2 is underway with construction planned for 2022 and 2023. This next phase of the park will double its current acreage and include new amenities such as a skate park, pickleball, and bike pump track. We are also moving forward on improvements at Lakeview Golf Club as we bring this community asset up to the premier standards we expect in Meridian.
These are just a few of the many initiatives we are working on as a City to continue to bring the best services to our residents. If you haven’t done so, I encourage you to read our Strategic Plan at www.meridiancity.org/strategicplan. The plan enables our citizens, partners, leadership, and employees to work together to meet our goals and objectives which ensure we maintain our premier services in both the short-term and long-term future of Meridian.
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