Ground broken on 14-acre Heritage Park in Idaho Falls
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IDAHO FALLS — Ground was broken Thursday afternoon on a park that will greatly expand the Greenbelt and River Walk system in Idaho Falls.
The city has partnered with the Rotary Club to make the 14-acre Heritage Park a possibility. The groundbreaking was ceremoniously held Thursday, April 12 on the Rotary Club’s 100-year anniversary.
The chilly ceremony, held under gray skies, included a special presentation from the Idaho Falls Fire Department Pipes and Drums and Honor Guard. Students from the American Heritage Charter School sang.
Rotary International President Ian Risely traveled from Austrailia to be a part of the groundbreaking.
“This is exciting stuff,” Risely said in his remarks during the ceremony. “It (the plan for the park) looks fabulous.”
The park will be located south of Snake River Landing and north of the Sunnyside Bridge. The land for the park was donated by the Stafford and Woody Smith families, private and nonprofit partners including Snake River Landing, Ball Ventures, the Rotary Club of Idaho Falls and the owners of the Jackson Hole Junction Commercial Center.
The funds and property donations are valued at over $2.5 million.
“I’ve studied rivers in other areas — Boston Harbor, Baltimore, the cities along the Mississippi River — and people that do something and leverage the river — the people, the businesses and the economy will come,” Idaho Falls City Council President Tom Hally said in his remarks.
He said building this park will bring people from all over to visit it and Idaho Falls.
At the future Heritage Park site, Risely dumped the first of hundreds of loads of dirt that will be trucked in to facilitate the construction of the park. Shortly after, members of the Rotary Club, city councilors and others involved with the park broke ground.
Now that ground has been officially broken, the park will be finished in phases. Phase one is expected to be complete in fall 2019 and when it is completely done, it will include an expansion of the River Walk, nature trails and walkways. It will also have a nature-themed playground area, an interactive stream for children to play in, water gardens, island exploration, a promontory, shelters lighting, benches, parking and a variety of other features.