The answer to this question is VERY complicated. In fact, you’re probably wondering what happens to those comments we always ask you for and if it makes any difference. Well you should be glad to know that they have been used for multiple grant applications and also were included in the information packet given to the Nampa City Council this past Monday, June 1st. Your comments along with bicycle and pedestrian counts you have done, and other background information helped persuade the council to unanimously approve using city budget to get our own appraisal of the corridor property.
View the time line below to see why this is so critical. What is the next step? Well, if you are an authorized appraiser who is respected and approved by the Union Pacific Railroad, we’d certainly like to talk to you! Once the city has its own appraisal it can make a counter offer and continue moving towards an agreement that both the city and Union Pacific can live with. Once the right of way has been acquired and is officially owned by the city we can apply for grants to build the pathway.
There is an outside chance that an agreement won’t be reached and if that occurs a couple of scenarios could play out. 1) Union Pacific might sell the entire corridor to another buyer who we might be able to negotiate with for the pathway easement; 2) Union Pacific might decide to make the corridor available to individual property owners in which case the city would have to negotiate with multiple buyers; or 3) we might have to consider creating an on-street route to complete the network connection to get users from where the trail now ends at Iowa to Nampa’s Historic Downtown.
In either case, we’re going to be looking for partners (corporate, nonprofit, healthcare industries, artists, etc) in the community who are ready to come along side to make it happen. We’ll need dollars and influence and, of course, your volunteers hours to continue to do those bicycle and pedestrian counts, outreach events, and submit comments. Thank you for getting involved, both now and in the future.
Time Line, history of the undeveloped Stoddard rail trail
For the really curious – I spent the evening going back through my emails and reconstructed the journey we’ve been on.
1993 (approx.) –Union Pacific removed the Stoddard spur from active use
2010, October — The Public Utilities Commission holds hearing to begin process of official abandonment. Bike Walk Nampa collected comments of support from the public.
2011, March – Mayor Dale and City Council members walk the abandoned trail corridor to discuss options and issues as part of the process of developing the Nampa Bicycle & Pedestrian Master Plan
2011, June – Bike Walk Nampa begins doing bicycle & pedestrian counts on Stoddard and other pathways
2011, Aug. – Nampa Bicycle & Pedestrian Master Plan approved by City Council. Stoddard pathway listed as high priority in planned network.
2012, July – Federal funds granted in the amount of $100,000 for FY2014 to build pathway from Iowa to Sherman Elementary School, pending the acquisition of the right of way from Union Pacific.
2012, Oct. – Pathway designed. Open House for public comments on design held at Sherman Elementary school.
2013, Jan – Additional grants applied for to construct the trail. Bike Walk Nampa collected more public comments to support applications
2013, Sept – Official abandonment process completed and recognized by the Surface Transportation Board. Union Pacific is free to auction or get appraisal and sell property on open market.
2013, Sept – Mayor and city staff file a request to the Surface Transportation Board expressing interest in acquiring the corridor. That gives the city 180 days to exclusively negotiate cost of the property.
2013, Sept – Union Pacific asks $700,000 for trail corridor based on their “At the fence” appraisal done by their appraiser.
2013, October – Grant money awarded from Federal funds becomes available for building the Stoddard pathway.
2013, October – Negotiations still pending and city does not have ownership of corridor. Deadline passes for Federal funds to be spent, so they are lost.
2014, July – Bike Walk Nampa collects public comment to support city acquisition of trail. Door to door contact with 64 residents and property owners along corridor reveals majority support creating the pathway.
2014, Late July/Aug – In light of stalled negotiations and high asking price, Task Force meets and develops the Historic Union Pacific Stoddard Pathway Concept Plan which includes personal narratives of local retired railroad employees, historical markers along the trail, and interactive pieces for children. Proposal is presented to Union Pacific.
2014, Nov. – Next step is for city to pay for its own appraisal to make a counter offer.
2014, Aug – May 2015. – Negotiations stall. Council expresses concern that an appraisal would be wasted funds since it is unlikely to change the price U.P. is asking. Nampa Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory and City Staff (Karla Nelson, long range planner and Lynda Clark, city grant writer) compile facts and build the case for getting the appraisal.
2015, June 1 – Karla Nelson presents staff report requesting funds for appraisal. City Council unanimously approves the Parks & Recreation Department allocating part of their budget to fund an appraisal. This will enable the city to make a counter offer and negotiations to continue.
Take the 2 mile challenge – Did you know that almost 50 % of our daily trips in the U.S. are less than 5 miles from home? And yet we do most of those trips in our cars. Pick an errand this week and do it by bike or take a walk. It will only take a few extra minutes and as an added bonus you’ll get your physical activity for the day.
This Saturday, May 9th, 10 am is the FIRST of four Neighborhood to Market Rides. Meet up with a group at one of these locations:
- Canyon Street and Bird next to Nampa High School Stadium
- Ronald Reagan Elementary School on 3400 Southside Blvd
- Starr Park on 14th Ave. North