NAMPA, Idaho — For some people, especially those who have lived in the area their whole lives, downtown Nampa holds a special place in their hearts.
“I live downtown,” Salem Taylor said, “So, I’m around here all the time, and I love it.”
But Taylor still thinks there is room for improvement — a sentiment many others share, including the city. To encourage change, city leaders put together an incentive package, said Cliff Long, senior director of development services.
The package includes the “Downtown Nampa Façade Improvement Grant” and the “Downtown Nampa Restaurant Incentive.”
Long said the restaurant incentive hopefully brings new places to eat into the area, since the incentive helps offset the costs of “some of the larger impediments to opening a restaurant.”
“One of the things that we’ve heard from folks in the city is that they want more places to eat,” Long said. “They want to hang out downtown.”
Business owners who participate in the façade improvement program can get help buying new signs, awnings, paint, etc. Long said the city will offset up to 50% of what the owners spend. There is a $50,000 limit.
Adam Haynes, Rolling H Cycles owner, also agrees downtown could use a facelift. He said there is a lot of work that needs to be done.
“It needs vibrant restaurants. It needs vibrant shopping. It needs housing for kind of up-and-coming people,” Haynes said. “There are certain draws, but there are not draws that are getting people here year-round, day in and day out.”
Haynes looked into a similar façade incentive six years ago when he wanted to update his store. But ultimately, he decided against applying because the process was too long and complicated.
He thinks the city could do a better job communicating with business owners about what options are available to them.
“[It] could be streamlined a bit,” Haynes said. “If the city or whoever’s wanting the improvements can present it to the business owners in a quick, timely fashion, it’s going to get everybody on board at that point.”
Taylor just hopes the whole area becomes more modern.
“I’d love to walk down here and see everyone enjoying themselves downtown, like my home,” she said.
Other community members, like Skee Wood, would like to see more green space and better parking. Wood co-owns The Milking Barn.
Wood said often, people travel to Caldwell and other nearby cities because their downtowns have more to offer.
“People want more restaurants. They want more shopping, more family-friendly things,” Wood said.
A city spokesperson said they are analyzing parking downtown, including on-street parking, as well as city-owned lots and garages. Staff members are also “exploring new amenities for downtown, which may include additional gathering spaces.”
Long said he is hopeful for what the future will bring.
“We’re just really excited,” Long said. “There’s a lot of great people working in our development community to make this a better place, and we think that it will be a benefit for the citizens of Nampa.”
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