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Idaho Falls breaks ground on new 14-acre park

The Idaho Falls community broke ground on a new 14-acre park along the Snake River. The park is located just south of the Snake River Landing and north of Sunnyside. It will be a bridge to connect other parks along the Snake River.

“This really fills in the gaps and connects that trail system so people can continue to ride,” said Greg Weitzel, director of Parks and Recreation for Idaho Falls. “But it also, from an aesthetic perspective, it also helps to just create that greenbelt network and that green infrastructure that we need along the river.”

There will be many features to the park including a trail network, an amphitheater and community space; however, Parks and Rec is most excited about what they call “nature play.” They won’t be building baseball fields or playgrounds, but will have the nature in the park be the play area.

“Kids today are so disconnected due to highly stimulating technology being on their phones, and iPads and laptops all the time,” Weitzel said. “That’s why we want to make this a real exciting nature based park that they can disconnect from their technology and reconnect with nature.”

Many people and community groups helped bring this park to reality including the Stafford and Woody Smith families, the Snake River Landing and Ball Ventures, the Jackson Hole Junction Commercial Center and the Rotary Club of Idaho Falls.

“We’ve been able to make a major contribution to this park,” said Steve Poulsen, president of the Rotary Club of Idaho Falls. “And now to see it come together be what it is named Heritage Park for the future and for people to come there. And it’s so good to work with the city and all our other partners that are involved making this happen.”

The park will be called “Heritage Park” in honor of the area’s rich history.

“This park’s going to celebrate the heritage of Idaho Falls,” Weitzel said. “We are rich in Native American history as well as agriculture and nuclear power. So this park’s going to celebrate that heritage and also give an opportunity for people to learn about that important heritage of southeastern idaho.”

Construction will officially begin next week. The city says the park should be ready to open sometime next year.

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