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“Walktober” Challenge

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 By Mayor Tammy

As the season changes, I know we are getting closer to October – or as we like to call it “Walktober”. 

The month kicks off with National Walk to School Day on Wednesday October 7th, an important day each year as we’re reminded of the importance of physical activity in our lives and safety when it comes to walking to school. I am pleased to be walking with my grandkids at the Hunter Elementary School planned event! We will have Meridian Police Officers at other school events as well.

National Walk to School Day serves as a springboard into the Mayor’s School Walking Challenge, a month-long competition sponsored by the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health, St. Luke’s and the Idaho Dairy Council. This month-long challenge is designed to promote good health for area school children by encouraging them to walk to school.

Meridian schools who accept the challenge will be competing against other schools in our community. The school with the highest average number of miles per student will win $2,000 for physical activity equipment and food service equipment.  In addition, the Treasure Valley Mayor who walks the most miles in October will receive $5,000 to donate to a park or school of their choice for new physical activity equipment. So I’m on a mission!  I’ll be armed with a FitBit all month that will not only track my steps as I walk alongside students but also the walking activity I take part in throughout the day.

To encourage participation by our school children, we are continuing the efforts of last spring and are rolling out Mayor Tammy’s Walking Club.  The club is our way of encouraging elementary schools and students to keep track of their walking throughout the year, not just during the month long challenge.  I am committed to visiting each school that is part of the Walking Club to join the students during their designated walking time. I really enjoy walking with the students in our area because I love seeing the excitement in their eyes as they ‘walk’ to improve their health. Likewise, it is a great reminder of just how easy and simple it is to add physical activity and exercise into our already busy schedules. At the end of the year we will celebrate with the top three classes at each participating school.

I invite you to join me, and our elementary students, in walking more during the month of October. It is my hope that through this challenge we not only take a few moments to identify ways to improve our physical activity each day, but that we actually do it! Hope to see you out on the walking paths.

Public Safety Training Center Opens - First of its Kind in the Valley

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 By Mayor Tammy

Meridian’s New Public Safety Training Center has opened and was immediately put to use! The official ribbon cutting isn’t until Monday, September 21st but agencies across the valley are utilizing the classroom space and fire and police personnel are already using the training grounds.


This facility is the first of its kind to be built in the valley – giving agencies across the area the ability to train locally instead of out of state. Meridian Police Chief Jeff Lavey says it will greatly improve the efficiencies in training our officers. While the new center is next door to the police department, it will serve many other departments, including our fire and public works personnel. This is something Chief Lavey says is hugely beneficial when preparing for tactical responses.


Our training center features four classrooms, a defensive tactics mat room, simulators to create real situations for training, a K-9 agility course and it will house a mobile command post.  The cost of the new facility,  in addition to a needed remodel to the police department building was $5 million.


Meridian is ranked one of the safest cities in the state of Idaho and we want to keep it that way. This new facility helps us maintain the high level of safety our residents are accustomed to. We appreciate the community partnerships that will enhance this facility in the years to come.


One of those partnerships is with the Ada County Highway District. This fall the district will install traffic lights at the facility, providing for a training space involving traffic incidents.


Other partnerships will be in the next phase of the training facility in the form of a Scenario Village. The Meridian Police Department is working with the West Ada School District and students from the Ada Professional Technical Center pre-engineering and construction program who are designing buildings for the village. They are currently designing a convenience store prop and a restaurant that is envisioned to be sponsored by local companies. Once complete, this facility will not only be used to train public safety professionals, but also to assist local companies with emergency preparedness.


Our Public Safety Training Center will not only be the first of its kind in our area – but in our region. It will strengthen our public safety and it will make our community a destination for emergency training. Please join us for the ribbon cutting and tours of the new facility on Monday, September 21st at 10:30 am at 1223 E. Watertower Ave. in Meridian.

Neighborhood Stars Shine Bright

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By Mayor Tammy

I feel so fortunate to live and work in Meridian. I meet people every day who go above and beyond to make this community an even better place to call home. That’s why our City’s Neighborhood Star Awards are so important to me. I think it’s important to recognize our residents for the work they do – and their contributions to the quality of life and safety in our community.


We are currently seeking nominations for this year’s Neighborhood Star Awards. Do you have a family member, friend, neighbor or nearby business who shines brightly and makes a significant contribution to Meridian? Now is the time to step forward! You can recognize a business or individual’s acts of goodness and honor them! The award is for those who are exceptionally committed to preserving, maintaining and improving the quality of life and safety in their neighborhoods and our community.


In the past, neighbors or neighborhood associations have nominated individuals, couples and businesses out of appreciation for something they did that year or to recognize their overall effort in adding something more to our community.


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – our City has been recognized numerous times for being a Best Place to live, and that is because of our people. Unsung heroes throughout our community consistently demonstrate strong dedication to their neighborhoods and Meridian as a whole.


If you’d like to nominate someone, you have until September 21st.  Simply send in a note of 300 words or less describing why you believe the nominee enhances the life in your neighborhood or our community. You’ll find more information, including how to submit your nominations on our website, www.meridiancity.org.


I look forward to awarding this year’s shining residents and/or businesses on October 13th here at Meridian City Hall.

The Future of Meridian Parks

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By Mayor Tammy

  The Meridian Parks and Recreation Department has been very busy this summer! Not only have they produced another wonderful season of family favorite events, such as CableONE Movie Night, but they also recently opened the long awaited Storey Dog Park and just released the Fall Activity Guide. 


While the department was working on all of these present day events and activities they were also looking to the future, planning parks for our community, and reaching out to involve our citizens. The department held two meetings focused on two new regional parks that are in the very early planning stages – one for South Meridian and the other in West Meridian. The turnout and participation at these meetings was fantastic – with 70 people turning out for the South Meridian meeting and more than 50 for the West Meridian preview.  I love to see our residents taking ownership of their community and our planning for the future!


Here’s a rundown of the project plans so far. The South Meridian Park will be a 77-acre regional park - making it the largest park in Meridian, once it is complete - off of Lake Hazel Road between Locust Grove and Eagle Roads. The focus will be on active recreation with such amenities as tennis, basketball and pickleball courts, sand volleyball – even a lighted softball complex, and the ability to host area tournaments. There will also be playgrounds, pathways, a splash pad, fishing pond, public art, and community gardens.


The West Meridian Park will be a 47-acre regional park off McDermott Road. This park will also have multi-sport ball fields and courts with a focus on the history and identity of our community. The other amenities will be similar to the proposed South Meridian Park and those we find at current parks, such as Settlers and Kleiner; a fishing pond, picnic shelters, pathways, public art and community gardens. Plans also include an off-leash dog area.


During both meetings, the public expressed a desire to see more recreational fields in area parks, including pickleball courts and softball and lacrosse fields. They also said pathways and trails are important, and water features, such as a splash pad. One resident said it would be great to have another outdoor community swimming pool.


Right now there is no timeline, nor funding, regarding construction of these parks. The comments received during the public meetings will be compiled.  Our Parks and Recreation staff, the Commission, and City Council will review and discuss the concepts and comments as these projects move forward.  Final design and construction documents are steps that will come in future years.   


I want to thank everyone who participated in these public meetings! The comments received at this stage of the process will not only help our teams move forward on design and concepts, but it may also help us identify potential partnerships. We pride ourselves in creating Quality, Community, and Fun in our Parks. This takes years of well thought-out proposals, designs and budgetary plans. And while we move forward, we are always looking to you--our community--for ideas and comments.  So stay tuned for more information about these future parks in Meridian!


Who Let the Dogs Out?

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 By Mayor Tammy

The question isn’t so much “who let the dogs out”, the question is, WHEN can we let the dogs out? And the answer is – very soon!

I’m thrilled to let you know the City’s first dedicated off-leash dog park is set to open this month!  We will be hosting a Grand Opening Celebration for our Storey Bark Park on Wednesday, August 12, from 4:00 – 6:00 pm, at 430 E. Watertower Lane. The event will include an official leash-cutting ceremony at 4:30 pm. You’re invited to join us and bring your dogs. We’ll also have information booths and displays, live music, dog-themed door prizes, and doggy goody bags (while supplies last).  


The Storey Bark Park is located behind Meridian’s Storey Park and is a large fully-fenced dog park. The park features a safe leashing/unleashing area, separate large dog and small dog areas, shade shelters, a restroom building, people and doggy drinking fountains, paved walkways, a variety of ground coverings, benches, mutt mitt stations, landscaping, a new paved parking area, dog-themed street signs, and a pair of fire hydrants. Both the small dog area and large dog area feature a number of agility items donated to the dog park by Intermountain Pet Hospital & Lodge.


This park is another great example of how our Parks and Recreation Department continues to reflect the needs of our community and to connect even more people to our excellent outdoor recreation opportunities. Our community has been patiently waiting for this dedicated facility. For a number of years we utilized space at the Meridian Police Department but we lost that area with the construction of our Public Safety Training Center.  I want to thank the members of the Police Department who did what they could to help us with a temporary solution to this new facility.  Based upon that experience, I am confident this new park will bring a lot of joy to dogs and their owners.


Storey Bark Park will be open daily from sunrise to sunset. People and pets who visit the dog park will be expected to adhere to a set of posted rules intended to keep the new area safe, clean and fun for all users.


I look forward to seeing you and your K-9 companions at our City’s newest park!

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