BOISE -- Downtown Boise is poised for another project, via the Greater Boise Auditorium District. In less than a month, the public will elect new board members, who administrators say will have a lot of power in deciding how millions of dollars should be spent.
Currently, the convention center, the Boise Centre, is the Auditorium District's operating entity, and it's what generates around half of its revenue. Slightly more than half comes from local hotel taxes. Last year, those two things generated around $7.4 million.
The Auditorium District's director says more than 150,000 people come through the facility yearly, and there are few days during peak seasons that they aren't booked for an event.
"We're very, very busy. We have about nine months of the year where most of our clients have a tough time getting space," Executive Director Pat Rice said.
The big idea for years has been to expand the convention center. Rice says he Greater Boise Auditorium District has paid off the current facility and bought, in cash, five acres down the street to expand on.
"The intention is to grow conventions. Conventioneers spend about $260 per person, per day. Whereas local attendees spend approximately $81 per day. So certainly getting conventioneers to bring their money from out of town is really the goal," Rice said.
But now, the District's administrators say they're looking at more ideas on how to spend revenue, from sports venues (perhaps for the Hawks) to theaters (perhaps for Shakespeare productions) to other possibilities.
"There will be some really fresh, new ideas. The point is we want new ideas. We want to look at all the possibilities for things we can do to benefit Boise," Don Knickrehm, General Counsel, said.
Knickrehm explains Boise State University students are presenting ideas in a couple weeks, and the public is also invited to suggest ideas. Additionally, the District says whoever wins board positions in the election on May 21 will have power in making key decisions for downtown.
"Right now it's key and instrumental in helping guide the future of downtown in particular, and the core of the valley," Rice said.
Candidates for a 6 year term are: Stephanie Astorquia, Noah D. Bard, Steve Berch, John May, Rob R. Perez, and Jim C. Walker. Candidates for a 2 year term are: Peter Oliver and George Tway.