Boise Parks and Recreation hoped Esther Simplot Park would be open by now.

Instead, crews found tons of industrial debris as they excavated the park site, located north of Pleasanton Avenue between the Boise River and Whitewater Park Boulevard. Cleanup took several months and cost $6.5 million. Now, the projected opening date will be Summer at the soonest, most likely Fall.

Most of the physical work is done, and planting of vegetation can start soon. City leaders and foundation members are worried that opening the park before the vegetation matures would risk damage from which the plants might never recover.

Once completed, the park will be one of the most spectacular in Idaho. It will have 23 acres of ponds, wetlands and other waterways, covering more than 40 percent of the park’s 55 acres. Amenities will include trails, docks, bridges, a playground and water access to neighboring Quinn’s Pond.

The Simplot family paid for the installation of 8 million pounds of large rocks. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game will stock the park’s ponds with fish. Joe Kozfkay, a Fish and Game regional fisheries manager, said the largemouth bass and bluegill will migrate from Quinn’s Pond into the new park. They will likely stock with trout for all months except July through September.

From the sound of it, Esther Simplot Park will be worth the wait!

This 360° view of the park under construction is pretty cool. Once you hit play, use your mouse to drag in any direction to see the full view!

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