Below are two perspectives created pro bono for this process by fellow committee member Steve Trout and Trout Architects, showing how the Armory might look if the historic surfaces were cleaned and preserved. Virtual awnings and figures are added for color and scale. These renderings were submitted to the developers and city officials in 2012 along with our detailed recommendations for the Armory based on extensive research and consultation with the public, development professionals, historic preservation experts and local government staff.
Armory Committee members have been actively engaged on this project now since mid 2007, longer than any of us expected. We are volunteers and neighbors. We have contributed our own time and resources to keep the ball moving forward. Here are a few facts and observations from our current perspective:
- We have approached this process with an aim to gather and share information and opinions openly with all interested parties, and to maintain productive working relationships that support preservation and repurposing;
- We have worked hard over time to involve neighbors, local government and other stakeholders in the visioning process, including interviewing several local developers to better understand practical/market considerations, and inviting comments through this web site;
- Our initial goal of removing the Armory from the auction process was a success;
- Since we don’t own the building, the best we can do is provide our collective recommendations based on research and stakeholder input, and hope that the finished product reflects what the community seems to want;
- Our main interests are to see the building brought back into productive use as a neighborhood asset with compatible mixed uses-consistent with community preferences-preserving as much of the architectural and historical elements as is practical;
- Input from neighbors, architects, and representatives from state and national historic preservation authorities supports careful preservation of exterior surfaces and the barrel-vaulted drill hall interior roof structure. These simple, economical design and construction elements tell the story of working our way out of the First Great Depression, and bear witness to the strong hands and backs that shaped the Idaho National Guard’s home;
We believe the Armory and 5-acre site fit perfectly into Boise’s goal to become one of the most livable cities in the country for several reasons:
- The site is strategically situated at the center of four distinct neighborhood districts, creating bike and pedestrian access to Boise’s foothills, parks, residential areas, downtown, and transit;
- The existing geothermal service supports sustainability; and
- The Armory’s historic significance and narrative add value and create interest for future development and activities, while preserving the unique character of our city and state.
All the elements for success are present: an active, healthy neighborhood; proximity to business, government, cultural and recreational assets; and ample space for mixed-use development. All that is lacking are the economic vibrancy that smart and forward-thinking development can bring to this natural gathering place.