Wednesday, November 17, 2010

City of Kuna should get the Boys & Girls Club built now

On Dec. 5, 2006 — nearly four years ago — Kuna Mayor Dean Obray said that if there were one thing he could do before leaving office to secure a legacy for the youth of the community, it would be to get a Boys & Girls Club built in Kuna.
The setting was a City Council meeting, at which about 50 people attended, many addressing the City Council on the need for a Boys & Girls Club in Kuna. Among those who spoke were Kuna schools superintendent Jay Hummel, local residents Joe Luppens, Mary Hege, Tim and Belinda Gordon, Brenda Blitman, Sharon Fisher, Colleen Braga, Mike McGuinness and Joey Schueler of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Ada County and Krista Ducharme from the sheriff’s office, among others.
It was one of the first Kuna City Council meetings I covered, and I still remember it.
“This is the first time as mayor that I’ve felt such a unity grow in this community,” Obray said at the time, somewhat emotionally.
That was four years ago.
Granted, the context of that meeting was to put the Boys & Girls Club at the southwest corner of Deer Flat and Linder roads, a location that was scuttled by an Ada County Highway District drainage easement that precluded any development on that lot.
Still, local steering committee members quickly secured a promise of a donation of land west of Linder Road, south of Deer Flat, just north of Boise Street, near Butler Park. It seemed like this project was going to happen.
And I have to take a moment to commend the city and Kuna Mayor Scott Dowdy for coming up with the novel idea of donating a sliver of city-owned land for the purpose of joining it with the donated parcel to expedite the process.
But here we are, nearing the end of another year, and still no Boys & Girls Club.
The city of Kuna should make this a top priority and get it built now.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Let's get planning for a pool in Kuna

Kuna city officials should actually feel pretty good right now following last week’s resounding failure of the proposed $5 million bond for a new city hall, land and swimming pool. A lot of good has come out of it.
First of all, the city has avoided what promised to be a costly and messy mistake that would have caused no end of headaches and unexpected costs.
Secondly, the city got what it really wanted — to put the squeeze on city hall landlord Tim Gordon. The Ada County Sheriff’s Office moved the Kuna substation out, costing Gordon about $2,835 in rent every month, and Gordon agreed to a 26 percent reduction in his rent down to $4,000 per month. So if you do the math, Gordon is actually losing about $50,000 per year. I doubt that the $4,000 per month in rent he receives from the city covers his expenses. So Gordon now can’t have much money with which he can sue the city over the local improvement district.
So let’s move on.
What I heard the loudest during the campaign to get the bond measure passed was an overwhelming agreement that city residents want a municipal pool built.
Maybe not everyone, but I’d be willing to bet that at least 66.6 percent of the residents would vote in favor of a municipal pool — if the numbers pencil out.
So here’s a start. If the city is interested in providing a recreation opportunity for its residents, keeping Kuna dollars in Kuna, I have a suggestion on how to make it happen.

You can read my ideas in this week's Kuna Melba News.