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BOISE -- Hammer Flat, a place where developers once proposed building a planned community, will instead remain a haven for wild animalsin Boise's eastern foothills.

In a special meeting Tuesday, the Boise City Council voted unanimously to buy more than 700 acres of land above the Black Cliffs near Lucky Peak.

The main driving force behind the city wanting to preserve this land was to make it so wild animals could continue to be here. City leaders are calling this a great step in making that happen.

I think it's hard to overstate just what an important day this is, said Boise Mayor Dave Bieter.

The Boise City Council was in harmonyas all six members voted to approve a $4.1 million purchase of land vital to wildlife.

What a wonderful day for mule deer and for the citizens of Boise, said council member Elaine Clegg.

The foothills are such an important part of who we are, and our legacy and I'm just so proud of this community for its willingness to step up and do what needed to be done to preserve as much of this priceless asset as we possibly can, said council member Alan Shealy.

In 2004, Tucker Johnson and Skyline Companies purchased the land at Hammer Flat. The plan was to build 1,400 homes on half of the 700 acres with the other half open space for animals like mule deer.

But Johnson says a down economy changed those plans. He says it wasn't an easy decision to sell it to the city, but it was the right one.

It was a decision that we came to and feel very much at peace and pleased that this will be a legacy, for not only the valley, but also our family, said Tucker Johnson.

Bieter agrees this purchase will be a legacy for years to come.

They may not remember who's here, and that's fine, but they'll remember what happened. They'll remember what was done, because this is a parcel people are going to be able to enjoy forever, said Bieter.

The city plans on closing the sale of this land before the end of the month. Bieter says the chances of it not going through are extremely slim.

The city purchased this land using the foothills levy.

Since 2001, that levy has generated more than $10 million, allowing the city to conserve more than 10,000 acres of land.

Following this purchase, the fund will have a little less than $400,000 for future purchases.

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