Tracking code caldwell guardian

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Can't We All Just Get Along, King's Building, Optimists, And Plaza in Downtown

The Caldwell East Urban Renewal Agency met today to once again resolve the issue to demolish or not demolish the King's building in downtown.  All those at the meeting got ample time to get the issues and opportunities out on the table and here is what was decided:

1.  The Optimists Club boxing program can use the building but agreed to vacate the building if given as little as a week notice to vacate once the demolition permit has been issued.  Also, the Optimists were advised to see if the old Catholic Church gymnasium could be used for their program v. spending any money on the old King's building and pouring money into a building destined for demolition.  The Optimists have been pouring all the profit from their rodeo booth into their boxing program and rent and utilities have drained their finances.

2. CEURA Chairman, Eljay Waite will get City Engineer Brent Orton to advertise for demolition permits immediately. This was a unanimous decision by the board.  ( we will see if this gets done by next month)

3.  There was discontent voiced from two downtown property owners; Joe Lombardo and Bob Carpenter and myself over the visuals vacant and boarded up buildings present to the outside world. What they don't do to promote Caldwell as a "going concern" to investors when they come to town.  Sky Ranch Business Park looks fine but when they take a look at downtown it is not a place they want to bring their family to live work and play.  It presents a picture of benign neglect and is ultimately a deterrent to investors, jobs and investment by others in our community.

4.  A 7000 sq, ft. steel building has been donated to the Optimists for their boxing program and the site is the property across the street from the Municipal Pool and Tennis Courts.  Parks and Rec. have about $300k in their savings account for this project. They will also use the building for all their various programs and will terminate using the YMCA for this effort. Parks and Rec. now pay the Y about $600/month rent to use the YMCA.  The total cost to fill the gap is about $100k and City Finance Director Eljay Waite and Councilman Rob Hopper were unwilling to commit city funds from the LGIP to fill this gap or any urban renewal money. 

Oddly, THE GUARDIAN had a conversation with Mayor Nancolas about using this very parcel as the site for a skateboard park prior to the one out in Sky Ranch got built.  I was told it could not be done due to deed restrictions. It leaves us all to wonder if the deed restrictions will accommodate  this new use.

5. Chairman Eljay Waite made a point of "forgiveness" of THE GUARDIAN for all the things written about the Chairman and the Agency over the years.  THE GUARDIAN is pleased to receive these kind words of absolution for perceived wrongs directed to the Chairman and the Agency. 

If any errors have been written about the Chairman or the agency I stand ready to correct them.


  1. I hope to see the King's building demolished and some nice green grass growing on that spot before the snow flies this coming winter. It won't happen if the process is dragged out as is generally the case. If the city can grass in the DL Evans property at 10th and Blaine until such time as the band decides to build on that property doing the same at the King's site is no less of a challenge or cost. It will be a vast improvement over that ugly old building.
    I would also add that I hope the Optimists can carve out a niche at the old Catholic Church until they can get the building erected in the city park.

  2. I find it interesting that Mr. Waite has the power of forgivness now along with controlling all of the gold in the kingdom.I will say this he is a master of ellusion. There is a growing awareness and frustration with his tactics both visable and invisable. For his own good he should step down. It must be very frustrating for him to come under public review after all these years of doing as he pleased. Caldwell may be waking up, I hope so!

  3. Urban renewal bought property downtown for the creek project and paid a lot of money for all the parcels they purchased. The Assessor raised tax assessments to reflect their statutory requirement of assessing property at 100% of full market value. Downtown property owners got their new and improved assessments and went into shock with 400-500% increases in taxes and no ability to sell for new assessed values. Urban renewal got more money from worthless property that owners could never sell at any reasonable price. Property values took a nose dive due to the economy and urban renewal is back buying property and taking them off the tax rolls causing higher taxes for everyone to make up for what has been removed from tax rolls. Meanwhile, UR efforts at Sky Ranch have been the great give away of tax dollars for "jobs" with $100K given to Southwark, (they also got a long term break on property taxes) $32k given to a downtown beauty shop (the owner sold out and left town after receiving the money), TVCC got a free coffee shop at a cost of $100K of taxpayer money and is in direct competition with downtown business owners and is now a work study coffee shop for students with 2 operators going belly up. (somebody forgot students don't have money for things not on the dollar menu.) TVCC costing millions to build and another million to furnish, was built as a redundant effort to taxpayer supported CWI and is now struggling to make their numbers while paying half rent on the 39,000 sq. ft. they occupy. Not to mention the $20K/year they get for maintenance of the building.

    CERA may be financially solvent and in the black but it has been done on the backs of business and commercial property owners along with the nearly $300/$100K of increased taxes on property owners outside the district. Schools have been cut out of their share of property tax revenue, property taxpayers get stuck paying for new schools in the URA district along with a plea for yet more money via supplemental levy amounts.

    Urban Renewal is nothing short of welfare for developers. When citizens come to the URA board with a legitimate project they are asked "where will the money come from?" as was told to those who want to put a plaza on the old King's building site. Along with more blow-back from Councilman Rob Hopper who wanted signage that any grass or tree improvements were temporary and all of it would go away at the whim of the URA board. He has short memory on who paid for the landscaping of the DL EVANS bank property at 10th and Blaine.

    People of Caldwell have every right to be up in arms about the lack of return on investment by the URA efforts in town. I will end this before I lose you on more examples... paul


    1. I forgot to highlight $10.7Million handed over to the YMCA. It is unclear if the Y will continue to operate the Y with 16,000 members and still not generating enough money to get into the black with their costs of operation. If this partnership dissolves the Y will revert back to taxpayers in order to keep the doors open.

  4. Nampa URA is looking at a $500k decrease in tax receipts this year due to the St. Luke's project next to Nampa Costco. This will add up to $10Million in lost revenue due to this property coming off the tax rolls. More magic from urban renewal... paul


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