July 28, 2015      76.0°F (24.4°C) | Fair
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Why We’re Holding an “Unplugged” Town Hall

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By Mayor Tammy

The City of Meridian is going “Unplugged” at the next Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, July 22! What do we mean by this? Well, we simply want you, our residents, to run the agenda for the meeting! We want to hear from you! This is your chance to ask myself and other City leaders a question you’ve been wanting to ask us or discuss a certain topic.

 

There’s no better way to make a City stronger than to get residents and City leaders in one room talking about the items that are at the forefront of their minds. We will be taking questions via our social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, NextDoor and LinkedIN), email (communications@meridiancity.org) and in person. We’re not only recording the Town Hall but we will also be live streaming the meeting, so if you can’t make it but have a question – you can send us your query ahead of time and view the live stream. Visit our website and look for the Town Hall event link on the left side of the homepage – www.meridiancity.org.

 

The Town Hall meeting will take place from 6:30pm – 8:00pm at the Meridian Library District (1326 W. Cherry Lane).  Several of our City departments will have booths set up with information about upcoming events, activities and future amenities such as Meridian’s Storey Bark Park, a new dog park located behind Storey Park, which will open August 12th. We’ll also provide updates about the much anticipated Meridian Youth Farmers Market coming up on September 10th.

 

Representatives from the Meridian Library will kick off the meeting with an update about plans for a new technology branch located in Downtown Meridian. We’re always excited to see the Library grow here in our community and this new branch is no exception! It will extend the library’s digital services by offering programs and technologies to the downtown business district. Plans include 3D printers, computers, video, audio/design software, and large scale printing, among other things.

 

I’m hopeful you’ll be able to join us – even if you don’t have questions or a certain topic you want us to discuss. It will definitely be an “Unplugged” night full of information regarding our wonderful community.

 

I hope to see you on Wednesday!

Coming Soon - Meridian Youth Farmers Market

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 By Mayor Tammy

 

The City of Meridian is a place for families, where our children are a priority. We are constantly striving to provide meaningful programs for our youth. In continuation of this tradition it is only fitting that our newest venture, not only answers a long-time community request but has a focus on youth. It gives me great joy to announce the Meridian Youth Farmers Market will debut in September.

 

I mentioned in my State of the City that we would explore bringing a Youth Farmers Market to downtown Meridian.  Today I can tell you that we are taking the next steps to do just that, and will be launching an expo on Thursday, September 10th, at Meridian City Hall from 4:30pm – 7pm. This year’s one day only event will serve as a springboard into next summer (2016), when we plan to have youth vendors marketing their products on a weekly basis.

 

We are issuing a ‘call’ for youth vendors who want to sell a variety of products such as fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and baked goods at the first ever Youth Farmer’s Market Expo on September 10th.  We will even provide them with a table and canopy cover thanks to a grant from Blue Cross of Idaho. The market will also provide some basic information about what is being planned for next year - including opportunities to sign up for space at local community gardens.  We will have applications for next year’s event on hand.  In addition, this event will consist of educational displays, cooking demos, food trucks, music and more! 

 

We will be utilizing funds from our Blue Cross High Five grant to help make this event happen this year and into the future.  By providing access to fresh and healthy food to our community, we are creating an environment that is more supportive of healthy lifestyles for kids and families alike.  Taking these types of steps can have a positive impact on our community and ultimately reduce childhood obesity.

 

Our community has been asking for a Farmers Market in our Downtown Meridian for some time, but we wanted it to be unique. With this focus on youth – we’re giving kids an opportunity to learn and profit from their hobbies and projects, but most importantly their passions. I can’t think of a better way to connect the youth with their community while providing a service and event that residents have longed for in our area.

 

We are eager to find youth vendors for this year’s event as well as next summer’s weekly market. Our community has said getting a Farmers Market is a priority, so I am asking for your help in making September’s launch of the Meridian Youth Farmers Market a huge success! To apply to be a vendor, learn more about this event, or see what will be taking place over the course of the next year, visit our website at www.meridiancity.org

Meridian’s Historic Walking Tour Wins Award

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By Mayor Tammy

 

The Association of Idaho Cities (AIC) held its annual conference this month and it was a bittersweet time for me.  This conference marked the completion of my term as President of AIC where it has been an honor to serve the cities and state of Idaho. As the conference wrapped up I was extremely proud to see Meridian’s Historic Walking Tour be recognized by AIC with a City Achievement Award for community outreach. 

 

The origins of the Meridian Historic Walking Tour date back to the 1990’s, but it was updated and launched in 2014 through a partnership with the Meridian Historic Preservation Commission and the Meridian Development Corporation.  Visitors on the tour not only have the opportunity to read about Meridian’s past, but can also use their smart phones and the QR codes on the brochures and signage, to access videos hosted by local historian Lila Hill.  You can even enjoy it at home!

 

The historic walking tour is important to our City because it reminds us of our heritage and the importance our history has played in shaping the community we are today. The walking tour gives the public, both young and old, the opportunity to explore the wonders of Meridian’s history in a fun and engaging way.  If you haven’t checked out the historic walking tour – I would definitely recommend it! The tour through Downtown Meridian’s past and present is a great activity for people of all ages.

 

On top of our historic walking tour we also offer tours of City Hall to local students. In fact, we are currently looking for tour guides to lead these tours during the next school year. You can visit our website for more information (www.meridiancity.org).

 

As I said, it was a bittersweet time for me at the AIC conference. As we were being recognized with the award for our Historic Walking Tour, our community lost a champion of our community’s past with the passing of Dr. Tom Hammond.  Dr. Tom played a vital role in preserving the history of Meridian through his service on the Centennial Committee, his involvement in the renovation of the Pine Street School, and his leadership on the Meridian Historical Preservation Commission in which he served as Chairman for at least 5 terms.  His service, generosity of spirit and life-long sharing of time and talents will leave a lasting legacy in our community and stand as an inspiration to others.

 

It is because of outstanding volunteers like Dr. Tom that we have great programs like the Historic Walking Tour. I look forward to seeing more programs like this grow in our City! And I’m pleased to see such a fantastic City activity and resource acknowledged for its contribution in making our community a destination to live, work and raise our families.

Mayor's Walking Club - A Successful First Year!

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By Mayor Tammy

With all the celebrations behind us now - I can honestly say the 1st year of our Mayor’s Walking Club was a smashing success! It was so fun getting out to the schools in April and walking alongside such fantastic students in our community. A huge thank you to the students, staff, and volunteers at the five elementary schools that participated in the inaugural Mayor’s Walking Club: Ponderosa, Peregrine, Discovery, River Valley, and Siena elementary schools. I had a blast!

 

I want to thank the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for sponsoring this spin off from last fall’s Mayor's Walking Challenge. They provided a nutritious lunch for the winning classes from each school – I was lucky because I got to join each winning class for lunch!  The second place classes received jump ropes and third place received sports clips (carabiners).  These were great incentives to be active, but most important, was the good time had by all. 

 

In total, the students at the five schools ran or walked a combined 25,403 miles. For those who might not remember, that is just a little more than the circumference of the Earth at the equator.  That is amazing!

 

Really, each person who took part is a winner and I’m so proud of everyone who was a member of our first Mayor’s Walking Club.  If you see someone wearing one of the Mayor Tammy Walking Club buttons around town, make sure you congratulate them for participating and encourage them to continue to stay active.

 

 

Ultimately, I hope all of the students, teachers, and volunteers enjoyed the experience as much as I did and I look forward to the walking club next fall.  We plan to expand the program to additional elementary schools in Meridian. I look forward to meeting more students in our community and you never know –the combined miles could be equal to the distance from here to the moon and back next time around!

 

Ponderosa Elementary : 1st Place –Mrs. Zamzow’s 2nd grade class, 2nd Place –Mrs. Brekke’s Kindergarten class, 3rd Place –Mrs. Segraves’ 3rd grade class

Peregrine Elementary: 1st Place –Mrs. Arnell’s 3rd grade class,2nd place – Mrs. Lambson’s 1st grade class, 3rd place –Mrs. Inga’s 1st grade class

Siena Elementary: 1st Place – Mr. Willoughby’s 5th grade class, 2nd Place – Mrs. Logsdon’s 4th grade class, 3rd Place – Mrs. Larson’s 1st grade class

River Valley Elementary: 1st place- Mrs. Price’s 5th grade class tied with Mrs. McDowell’s 5th grade class, 2nd place – Mrs. Preston’s 1st grade class, 3rd place –Mrs. McCathron’s 1st grade class

Discovery Elementary: 1st Place –Mr. Runyan’s 3rd grade class, 2nd Place –Mrs. Howard’s 1st grade class, 3rd Place –Mrs. Wright’s 5th grade class

 

 

Another Great MYAC Year!

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By Mayor Tammy

 

I can't believe we are at the end of another school year – and I can tell you it has been a busy one! It’s also the time of year when the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council (MYAC) activities wrap up. 

 

What a year it has been! From brand new projects, to the continued success of ongoing and annual events, MYAC has once again surpassed all expectations!

 

This year over 100 teens joined MYAC. Together they gave nearly 8,000 hours to the community in the form of community service, events, activities, and advocating for issues important to our teens.

 

MYAC kicked off the fall with another successful Trunk or Treat that brought in donations for the Meridian Food Bank and over 7,500 people. They also planned and executed another successful Treasure Valley Youth Summit. Last September’s event brought in over 200 students from Meridian area high schools to Wahooz for interactive lessons, guest speakers, and school specific workshops. They learned the dangers of texting while driving by simulating the act with go-karts and they wore fatal vision goggles while playing mini-golf to learn the affects drugs and alcohol play on judgment. They also participated in unfair laser tag to better understand bullying. The youth summit gives teens and “MYACers” a way to be part of the solution in addressing issues teen’s face. 

 

Keeping in line with teen safety – MYAC produced a Public Service Announcement called iCLICK. The purpose of the video announcement was to enforce the importance of wearing seatbelts and was part of the council’s presentation to our area legislators to make not wearing a seatbelt a primary offense.

 

MYAC held great events such as Ignite Youth which gave teens in our community an opportunity to prepare a 5-minute presentation on whatever topic is important to them. This year 12 teens participated on topics including renaming Idaho to Star 43 and bullying.  Another big event for MYAC this year was the City’s Do the Right campaign. The teens in MYAC really wanted to host a day-long, community-wide event that would promote kindness, because they realize bullying and sadness affects people of all ages. The first event was a huge success and next year is sure to be even bigger – with more people doing something kind for the person to their ‘right.’

 

MYAC wrapped up the year with the Ball at the Hall – A Prom for Grown Ups. The Ball at the Hall also doubled as an end-of-year group celebration and raised critical operating funds for the Treasure Valley Youth Summit. Our teens are all looking forward to once again bringing this important educational event to their peers across the community in Fall 2015.

 

This was such a fantastic year and I am thankful to all of the teens who serve on MYAC and would like to give a special acknowledgment to those who served as officers on the Executive Council. They give so much back to their community – in terms of service and hosting events. These teens are an inspiration and a reminder of the bright future we have in the next generation. Thank you as well to this years’ advisors Ken Corder, Patrick Dilley, Jake Garro, Debbie Shaner, Officer Gomez, and the number of parents who help throughout the year.

 

While our graduating seniors will be missed and the community appreciates all they have done, I look forward to next year as these teens continue to make a positive difference across our community! 

Town Hall Recap: Meridian’s Future

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By Mayor Tammy

Recently we held a Town Hall meeting at Siena Elementary focused on the future of our beautiful City. We shared feedback about the Listening Tour I just completed, the results of the Parks and Recreation master plan survey and an update on the South Meridian YMCA. 

I kicked-off the meeting with a report on my latest Listening Tour in which I met with Meridian residents to get their feedback and additional insight into specific questions from the 2014 Meridian City Survey.  Generally participants agreed with the results of the 2014 City Survey as it related to questions revolving around transportation and priorities for investing, with pathways being one of the most talked about items - our residents want to see more connectivity throughout the community. Looking to the future, our citizens expressed reservations about higher density housing and its impacts to infrastructure such as schools, but that issue has been somewhat addressed with the recent bond passing.  What was abundantly clear was that people felt that growth should pay for growth; including new schools, and that they need a greater commitment from the state. In addition, people would like to see more evening activities and dining options in Downtown Meridian.

 

Overall, people love Meridian and our small-town feel.  They believe our people are friendly, and appreciate our growing parks system. They are also fond of the West Ada School District, and the opportunities for youth to engage in the community. We agree!

 

After I discussed these results with the audience at our Town Hall – it was GreenPlay’s turn to present. Greenplay is a company we’ve hired to help us craft a master plan for our Parks and Recreation system over the next decade.  Their feedback collected so far has been clear as they spoke about the community’s desire for more pathways.  Preliminary ideas for the Parks master plan include; connecting trails to each other, parks and to schools, acquiring land for future parks, and communicating more effectively utilizing technology.  We’re about half way through the process in creating our plan and hope to finalize it by this Fall, but you can still voice your opinion until May 15 – just go to meridianparks.mindmixer.com.

 

Finally we received an update on the much-anticipated South Meridian YMCA project planned near Eagle and Amity roads. Current plans include a two-story elementary school that connects to the YMCA in the area where a library will be housed and a large gym and basketball court to be connected to the school.  The YMCA will feature a health and fitness space, a track that covers more than one floor to mimic hill runs, and an aquatic center complete with an outdoor splash pad and possibly a water slide.  This facility will also be located next to a City park.

 

I am thrilled about this new project, that wouldn’t be possible without critical partnerships including the YMCA, West Ada School District, the Meridian Library District, and a giving community. There are still funds that need to be raised, but I look forward to seeing the goal reached and cutting the ribbon on this facility.

 

Our Town Hall meeting was very informative and helped those in attendance better understand the direction we are going, and we appreciated their questions and feedback. It’s an exciting time for our City! I encourage you all to stay informed and be part of the process. Visit us at meridiancity.org and sign up for our newsletter or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube! 

 

Click here to view a video of the Town Hall meeting. 

Idaho Gives

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By Mayor Tammy

 

One of the things I love most about Meridian is how generous and giving our community is to those around them.  In fact, the generosity of our citizens is a primary reason Meridian was recognized among the top 50 best places to live by Money magazine.  

 

People of all ages throughout the community are outstanding philanthropists!  Every time I turn around the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council is working on another event to raise money or to give back to their City, such as the upcoming Ball at the Hall on May 16th. It’s a prom for all ages that benefits the Treasure Valley Youth Summit held each Fall to educate our local high teens on ways to keep them safe and healthy.

 

It is because we are a community full of caring and giving hearts, I wanted to let you know that May 7th is Idaho Gives Day. Idaho Gives was launched in 2013 by the Idaho Nonprofit Center and in its first year raised over $500,000 for 541 causes. In 2014 the amount raised jumped to nearly $800,000; this year I except that number to increase even more!

 

I’m a huge fan of movements like this because I believe that while one person can do a lot, with the focus of thousands statewide we can move mountains and really change the future course for many nonprofits, including several in our community.

 

Currently the Boys and Girls Club is raising money for a gymnasium next to their current facility and the YMCA is raising funds to build a new location in South Meridian. These are just two examples of tangible ways you can see your gift noticed with huge community impacts.

 

May 7th will be here before we know it! I look forward to seeing the results of this giving day statewide and the impact it has on our local nonprofits.

 

Visit the Idaho Gives event listing on the City of Meridian’s community calendar for more information. www.meridiancity.org/calendar

 

 


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