Human relations specialistNampa, Idaho
Trees Foster Community Connections and Outdoor Activity
When the City of Nampa had to purchase farm land to provide space for two new highway intersections, a 6-acre parcel remained that was not suitable for re-sale or development.
Christi Thoroughman, just back from a visit to Seattle, contacted the mayor and said, "Nampa needs a dog park." The stars aligned, so to speak, and the six acres soon were the beginning of what has become one of the city's most popular and well-used parks.
To make the area more hospitable, a community transportation enhancement grant was provided in 2008 through the Idaho Department of Lands. The city contributed a matching amount and 76 trees and ten shrubs were planted and irrigated. Through the years, Nampa's Urban Forestry Department has regularly added trees in strategic locations. Today, cottonless-cottonwoods, choke cherries, Kentucky coffeetrees and a variety of conifers provide much-needed shade for the park.
Christi is one of the many beneficiaries of the project. She and her two dogs use the park several times a week and she says, "People come here after work and you get to know their names and their dogs, what they do for a living and so forth. It brings people in the community together." On a summer weekend, some 2,000 dog owners spend some time at the park with their happy dogs. And according to city forester Earl Moran, any tree with shade will have someone standing under it.