City, Partner Organizations Lauded for Downtown Plan

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

From left to right: Idaho Transportation Department Engineering Manager Caleb Lakey; Mountain Home Urban Renewal Agency Commissioner Matt Bundy; City of Mountain Home Public Works Director Rich Urquidi; Mountain Home Economic Development Director Courtney Lewis; Mountain Home Mayor Rich Sykes; Horrocks Engineers, Inc. Principal Clint Boyle; and Horrocks Engineers Senior Planner Peggy Breski.

MOUNTAIN HOME, Idaho, (Oct. 16, 2019) - The Idaho chapter of the American Planning Association recently recognized the City of Mountain Home, Horrocks Engineers, Inc., Mountain Home Urban Renewal Agency and Idaho Transportation Department for their collaboration on the City's downtown revitalization plan. Representatives from the various entities accepted the 2019 Idaho APA Outstanding Plan Award during an Oct. 3 ceremony in Boise. The prestigious annual award honors an outstanding written plan in the state of Idaho.

According to the award presenter, the joint effort was able to develop a plan "focused on sustainable and solution-based design with a step-by-step, priority-based implementation plan." He went on to add that the plan "provides relevant data and directions for the improvements to become a reality."

The City commissioned Horrocks in Spring of 2017 to begin working on the plan in order to address aging infrastructure in the downtown core, increase economic development, improve land use for optimized community development, improve pedestrian safety and create a renewed downtown identity.

The City of Mountain Home Economic Development Office involved local business leaders and the community as a whole by hosting several public input forums and presentations of the plan at various stages. Information and opinions gathered in these discussions has helped shape the plan from its original form to what it is today.

Working closely with ITD resulted in approval to decrease the number of lanes through downtown to improve pedestrian and vehicular safety. ITD also agreed to temporarily delay scheduled road maintenance through the area to give the city time to complete initial infrastructure repairs beneath the roads and sidewalks. Subsequent talks resulted in the return some parking spaces previously slated for elimination. Those parking spaces will serve as the downtown core's first handicapped accessible parking spots.

Mountain Home Urban Renewal Agency has provided a total of $900,000 to help fund the project in Phase I. It has also independently purchased the Hub Plaza to provide an additional public event space and address initial public concerns over the planned removal of some street side parking.

"We firmly believe that the revitalization of downtown Mountain Home is important to the economic viability of our community," said URA Chairman Alan Bermensolo.

Mountain Home Mayor Rich Sykes closed the Oct. 15 City Council meeting with remarks thanking everyone involved in the planning process.

"As a mayor, you are just so proud of your people for all the hard work, and you see that come to fruition," said Sykes. "I have always believed we all do it as a family. It's just so special."