POCATELLO — A local civic organization and the city will both apply for grants to beautify a gravel island amid three busy roads, seeking to make the west entrance to town more aesthetically pleasing.
The City Council recently agreed to join Portneuf Valley Partners, formerly Valley Pride, in applying for grants from the Ifft Foundation to fund the beautification project in an industrial part of the community.
The triangle encompasses approximately 12,000 square feet and is bounded by North Main Street, Garrett Way and Hawthorne Road.
“This gets rid of what I consider to be an eyesore,” said David Maguire, a Pocatello attorney who addressed the City Council on behalf of Portneuf Valley Partners.
The Ifft Foundation, established by Sara Ifft and her late husband, Nicholas Ifft III, who formerly owned the Idaho State Journal, awards grants of up to $10,000 for beautification projects. The estimated cost of the entrance project is $40,000, so the city and Portneuf Valley Partners intend to apply for separate $10,000 grants both this fall and next spring to cover the total.
The city also agreed to supply the irrigation water to support adding perennial plants and shrubs by tapping into a nearby water main.
“If we can go to the Ifft Foundation and say we’ve got our ducks in a row and the city on board and the water for this, that gives us a really good chance to get the Ifft Foundation’s approval,” Maguire said.
Maguire envisions the triangle will include raised planting beds with perennials and will have ample room for a welcome sign and for displaying Christmas decorations.
Ifft Foundation grant applications were due Thursday. Mark Dahlquist, who is executive director of Neighborworks Pocatello and a member of Portneuf Valley Partners, agreed to write the grants for both parties.
Back when the group was Valley Pride, Dahlquist said it also emphasized beautifying the west entrance, building tree-covered berms along salvage yards. Dahlquist believes the west entrance is important because it provides the first impression of the city for people who arrive in Pocatello after flying into the city’s airport.
“It’s an important entrance into the community, and we need to make it look nice,” Dahlquist said. “That’s our front doorstep there, or one of them.”