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Portneuf River vision study draft released

Things are winding down for Pocatello’s Portneuf River visioning process. The city is asking for the public’s opinion one more time for the vision study’s first draft.

The 28-page draft is the culmination of a year of public meetings and sifting through at least 1,000 surveys, as well as research from the city, Idaho State University and other organizations and agencies.

Hannah Sanger, the city’s science and environmental division manager, said the common ideas from people were having a healthy river ecosystem and increased access and recreation on the river. Other big ideas were flood control, private property rights and water quality.

The draft contains a large number of pictures and addresses the public’s desires and concerns while also commenting on if they’re possible or not. Some concepts are even pictured to show what they might look like and to show their feasibility.

The draft also contains a list of short-term projects and long-term projects, which are defined as those able to be completed in five years and 20 years respectively.

Most importantly, the draft states that city and community involvement are crucial to making the ideas into a reality.

“It’s important for the city not to just look at our little stretch of river, but to say, ‘OK, if we want really good water quality, what are some other things we need to do?'” Sanger said. “We also need to look at some of the planning efforts and support efforts that need to be done elsewhere communitywide.”

Sanger also stresses the draft is only meant to be a guideline in the end, saying, “It’s not a ‘set in stone’ kind of thing. It’s really meant to help guide us as we consider what we can do on the river.”

People can submit comments on this draft until Oct. 21. You can find out how and see the draft yourself here.

There will be an open house for the draft at Pocatello Community Charter School on Wednesday, Oct. 12, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The draft will be presented to the Pocatello City Council during their study session on Oct. 13. If the City Council adopts the draft, the next step would be creating an implementation plan.

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