City making progress on downtown revitalization plan

MOUNTAIN HOME, Idaho (Oct. 26, 2017) – Mountain Home Economic Development specialist Courtney Lewis has been busy behind the scenes at City Hall working hard to push the City’s downtown revitalization project planning forward.  She has faced her share of challenges along the way, but the Air Force veteran is no stranger to overcoming obstacles.


“We really need to get this right,” said Lewis. “It’s important to our citizens and our businesses that all the different aspects of this project are carefully considered and coordinated.”


Consistent with projects of similar magnitude, several key points remain to be addressed before rolling the plan out to the community for another round of public input. Those tasks include, but are not limited to, conducting historical research and an engineering study, applying for grants, and coordinating efforts among Idaho Transportation Department, Urban Renewal Agency, Western Elmore County Recreation District, and Union Pacific Railroad.


Historical research is expected to clarify what parties own and are responsible for repair and maintenance of infrastructure like sidewalks, curb and gutter, and easements throughout the downtown area. This historical data will deconflict who will be responsible for certain tasks related to the revitalization.


The engineering study will address a unique problem set with sidewalks on Main Street. Some existing buildings have basement vaults that extend out under sidewalks. Repairing or replacing these sidewalks will require special attention and care. Additional studies on storm water may be needed as well.


One of Lewis’ main points of focus is on building partnerships and coordinating the efforts of the various entities that will be involved in the different stages of the project. For example, Lewis has worked closely with ITD representatives to shift their proposed timeline for construction on Main Street and 2nd Street. This shift will allow the City time to address the storm water issues and conduct sidewalk repairs prior to those streets being repaved. ITD agreed to the schedule change.


“Everyone involved has been very responsive to our needs,” said Lewis. “It’s a big project and it will require all parties to cooperate and integrate their efforts to the largest extent possible.”


Though there is a long list of phased objectives to meet, Lewis says planning is making progress and Mountain Home residents should see an updated plan in April 2018. At that time, project leads will announce a timeline and method for residents to provide input and comments for final refinements before the plan is approved. The plan was originally slated to be brought before the public by November, but the team opted for careful planning over quick execution.


“The biggest takeaway is that we are correcting problems that have been ignored for too long because they are challenging or expensive, “said Lewis. “That takes time, and we are working diligently to do it right the first time in order to make meaningful change with an eye toward the future.”

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