Friday, May 10, 2013

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, Marianne 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 community."

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 the couple.

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.

MWP walkway.JPG