August 29, 2015      86.0°F (30.0°C) | Fair
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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

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

 

 


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