New Marianne Williams Park opens with a splash
The newest gem in the city's Ribbon of Jewels parks opened May
13 with a celebration attended by about 100 people who commemorated
a donation of land by local businessman Larry Williams in honor of
his wife, Marianne.
Located on the river with a panoramic view of the Boise Front,
Williams Park, 3451 E. Barber Valley, features 1.8 miles
of paved Greenbelt pathways, a large grassy area for playing, a
picnic shelter, gazebo and restrooms.
The former site of the Barber Mill lumber operation, the
one-time industrial area in East Boise has been reclaimed with the
addition of two ponds, wetlands and riparian plantings to improve
fisheries and wildlife habitat.
Development was funded by $6.4 million in donations and impact
fees generated by new home construction in Boise. Brighton
Corporation built the park under a development agreement with the
City of Boise.
"This extraordinary park is a significant addition to the Ribbon
of Jewels and a major new amenity for the city," said Mayor David
Bieter. "The new developments in the Barber Valley are a model for
how Boise can remain livable as it grows. We are enormously
grateful to the Williams family for their foresight in preserving
this valuable property for the benefit of the entire
Larry Williams developed an appreciation for the city's park
system upon moving to Boise from Midvale in 1966. "We had two young
children and very little money," says Williams. "One of the things
we valued about Boise was its wonderful parks. The great thing
about Boise parks is that you can spend a lot of time with your
family without any cost, which at the time was something we
appreciated very much."
A fourth-generation Idahoan, Marianne (Fairchild) Williams grew
up ranching and working on the family farm in Midvale. Marianne and
Larry Williams, a fifth-generation Midvale resident, grew up
together and married in 1962. They have three children: Cari
Meyer, Cris Williams and Cory Williams.
Marianne Williams has played an integral role in the success of
several businesses founded with her husband, including Tree Top
Ranches and Idaho Timber Corp. Together, they have supported
collegiate athletics at Boise State University and served on the
Bronco Athletic Association Board of Directors.
The Williamses were introduced to the Barber Valley by the late
Dallas and Alta Harris, who were friends, partners and mentors to
Volunteers with an interest in the park are invited to
participate in a new Park Ambassador program. They will serve as
liaisons to Boise Parks & Recreation, help promote proper use
of the park, and share information with park users. Ambassadors
with expertise in wildlife habitat, native plants and other topics
may offer special tours of the park.
For more information about Marianne Williams Park, please see
the park webpage or
call Boise Parks & Recreation at 608-7600.