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News & Press: Why Cities Matter

River Gardens at Taylor's Crossing (City of Idaho Falls)

Friday, September 25, 2015  
Posted by: Gay Dawn Oyler
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The mission of the City of Idaho Falls Division of Parks and Recreation is to provide quality parks and recreation opportunities based upon cost efficiency and community needs.

One ionic asset that the Idaho Falls community has is the Snake River Greenbelt. The greenbelt travels along the banks of the Snake River and includes numerous parks, open spaces, the art museum, as well as adjacent hotels, businesses, universities and more than seven (7) miles of trails that are the most popular facilities used by residents and tourists on a daily basis.

In 2011 the Division of Parks and Recreation, along with several partners, began working on the River Gardens at Taylor’s Crossing project. This three (3) phase park and riparian buffer development project consists of revitalizing approximately five (5) acres of riverside property that was once home to a dumpsite along the banks of the Snake River.

The unique landscaping within the park project reused lava rocks that were left on site from a development project to create newly created bank stabilization and prevent sedimentary erosion all while creating a beautiful park that is unlike any other on the banks of the Snake River. The end result is the conversion of a limited access undeveloped river bank into a beautiful river park with ADA access to the river.

The River Gardens at Taylor’s Crossing project has improved the quality of life in Idaho Falls due to the conversion of an underutilized river bank that used to be a dumping ground for construction companies into an accessible green space that allows for future programming expansion and river use by community members of all ages and abilities.

The project includes an open air outdoor amphitheater area that can be used by the community for special events, charitable causes and small concerts. In addition, an ADA ramp way and lava rock fishing pier was created so people with disabilities can access the river for fishing, birdwatching or just enjoy the beautiful scenery. As part of phase II, a children’s dinosaur discovery area will be developed that will allow for education and excitement about archaeology. Within and around the lava rock walls, hundreds of volunteers helped plant thousands of perennials, flowers and trees that attract birds, butterflies and insects that allow for numerous environmental education opportunities. The Division of Parks and Recreation, along with other partners, plan to provide additional programming at the site as well as educational field trips that can be taken by schools and summer camps throughout the year.

The partnerships that were made and necessary for the development of the River Gardens at Taylor’s Crossing are another reason that this was an outstanding project. This project brought agencies together to fulfill the mission of enhancing the community through land development. The Rock Gardens stand as a monument demonstrating what can happen when resources come together to make a difference in the community. The impact that this project had on stabilizing and transforming land that once was full of trash into beautiful, accessible, and usable riverside green space, enhancing the Greenbelt, is truly what qualifies this project as life enhancing to community citizens..

For more info, contact:
Greg A. Weitzel
Division Director

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