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BOISE -- The J. A. & Kathryn Albertson Foundation plans to donate up to $1.4 million to help build a new recreation park along the Boise River.

The Ray Neef MD River Recreation Park is a rare opportunity to invest in a project that will have far-reaching benefits to our economy, our citizens and our environment, said Jamie MacMillan, executive director of the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation. By all projections, the new park will boost tourism, add jobs, improve the Boise River and its wildlife habitat, and offer exciting new recreational choices to young and old alike. It couldn't come at a better time. The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation is proud to be among the project's supporters.

The two-part donation consists of a $750,000 grant to the new facility, with an additional pledge of $650,000 in matching funds for all community donations up to that amount received by Feb. 1, 2011.

This gift is another example of the Albertson Foundation's strong commitment to Idaho and its future, Boise Mayor Dave Bieter said. I encourage all residents interested in strengthening our economy to take advantage of the foundation's generous matching offer and donate what they can by February 1. The sooner the park can be built, the sooner Boise can enjoy the park's significant economic benefits.

If the full matching grant is met, the Albertson Foundation donation would total half of the remaining $2.8 million cost for Phase One of the park. Construction of Phase One could be completed by spring 2012. Total cost of Phase One is $3.8 million, with $1 million already spent on design, engineering and site preparations.

The Ray Need MD River Recreation Park is located on the Boise River between Main Street and Veterans Memorial Park. It is expected to help generate economic development, provide a world-class recreational experience, and improve the fish habitat and riparian area along that section of the river.

Features will include in-river drops, chutes and boulder obstacles as well as riverbank seating areas and Greenbelt improvements. Several shared amenities will also benefit the adjacent Esther Simplot Park, including roads, parking lots, and a shelter/changing area.

To make a donation or learn more about the fundraising effort, see www.boiseriverpark.com.

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