Esther Simplot Park
Esther Simplot Park Esther Simplot Park is an undeveloped 55-acre park that one day will feature natural areas, fishing ponds, a playground, picnic areas and shelters, pathways and sports fields.
The park, which encompasses 17 acres of ponds and 8.9 acres of riparian natural areas, is located between Main Street and Veterans Parkway on the north side of the Boise River. The north boundary of the site is adjacent to 31st and Pleasanton streets; the south side borders the Boise River Greenbelt.
A $1 million gift from J.R. & Esther Simplot in January 2003 allowed the Boise Parks & Recreation Department to complete the purchase of riverfront property for the future Esther Simplot Park.
The City of Boise already owned 39 acres, a portion of which was donated by the Quinn-McEntee family. But thanks to the donation from the Simplots, the city was able to purchase the remaining 16.5 acres at the former site of the Consolidated Concrete Co.
The new park is the fifth site along the river to be named for a prominent woman in the citys history. The other riverside parks named for women are Julia Davis, Ann Morrison, Kathryn Albertson and Bernardine Quinn.
The park's was developed in 2004 with input from individuals and the Veterans Park Neighborhood Association. As envisioned in the master plan, the developed park would include six soccer fields, three shelters, two restrooms, an ADA-accessible fishing dock and parking lots.
A waterway is planned to connect Bernardine Quinn Pond east of the park with two ponds at the Simplot site. This waterway will improve water quality and wildlife habitat, as well as provide flat water recreation opportunities, such as canoeing, kayaking, etc.
The city is currently exploring options for a capital campaign to raise $4.4 million needed to develop both Esther Simplot Park and the River Recreation Park.
Esther Simplot has become synonymous with the performing arts in Boise since moving here in 1972 as the wife of industrialist J. R. Simplot.
Her untiring devotion and commitment have included co-founding the Boise Opera Company and construction in 1992 of the Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy and the Academy Annex in 1996.
Esther formed an early appreciation of the arts in her home state of Wisconsin and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Indiana with a degree in music. She subsequently moved to New York City, where she performed with the Riverside Church Choir, the Canterbury Choral, and the Master Choral, and sang at Carnegie Recital Hall and the Worlds Fair.
Together with her husband, Esther has sponsored artistic efforts which have enriched the lives of performers and audiences alike throughout the Treasure Valley.
Esther Simplot Park is located north of the Boise River between Fairview Avenue and Veterans Parkway.
Adjacent to the Greenbelt, it will include fishing ponds, recreation areas along the river, soccer fields, picnic grounds, and related amenities.
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