Friday, April 23, 2010

EIAA April Meeting Report: Idaho Falls Mayor Jared Fuhriman

By NAI Commerce One Multi-Family Specialist Doug Powell

Mayor Jared Fuhriman spoke to the Eastern Idaho Apartment Association this month about current events in Idaho Falls. Topics included AREVA, downtown redevelopment, the “North Loop” power line project and growth of the city. Renee McGee, director of planning and zoning for the city, ably assisted him. During his presentation he answered numerous questions. Specifically the Mayor noted:

• The Mayor strongly supports an open door policy and relishes feedback from the constituents of Idaho Falls. He was very clear that the city works for the citizens of the town. City government is fiscally conservative and currently has no debt. The model “pay as you go” is the operative business plan.

• Tax Increment Financing (TIF) has been extended from the west side of the Snake River to the east to cover downtown redevelopment. This will support additional redevelopment, which includes the Memorial Drive green belt, additional parking and upgrading existing buildings.

• The AREVA project is moving forward and approval appears eminent with groundbreaking projected for next spring. This project will ultimately bring approximately 1,200 construction and 300+ permanent jobs to Idaho Falls. The project may be expanded, which is more good news for the area.

• Location of the “North Loop” power transmission lines remain under study, but according to the Mayor, this development is essential to the continued growth on the west side and for redundancy in supply the east side of town.

• INL is proposing an expansion of four more buildings located in the technology park adjacent to the CAES building. This will bring additional jobs and further enhance the area’s reputation for research on energy efficiency and nuclear development. This project is projected for completion over the next five years.

Renee Magee, Director of the Idaho Falls Planning Department indicated that while Idaho Falls is caught up in the national recession, growth continues at a steady rate of 1% to 1.5% per year. A rate to bodes well for continued, effective management of infrastructure development within the city.

While permits are down 35% year over year, it appears that demand is slowly returning as evidenced by an 80 unit multi-family development under construction at 12th and Hoopes and a $5 million expansion by ERMAC.

In concluding his remarks the Mayor indicated his optimism for the bright future of Idaho Falls and the city’s ability to sustain the quality of life that is the joy of the folks lucky enough to live in this part of the country.
Doug Powell can be reached at (208) 525-8088 or by email.

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