Last week, City Council member Christine Stevens wrote a scathing article blaming Mayor Brian Blad for our city not having a long-range plan. She also failed to write that she and the other two City Council members, Roger Bray and Claudia Ortega, have fought Mayor Blad’s agenda every step of his term. Pocatello is not ready for her lack of progressive attitude when Idaho Falls, Twin Falls and other areas are taking positive action.
On June 22, I and a couple other long-time city residents met with Mayor Blad to share our vision for the Northgate Development and the concept of a master-planned community. (Please go to northgatedistrict.com). He was totally aware of what has been accomplished in the last 10 years of acquiring the 4,500 acres. He understands we have been in a worldwide pandemic that has slowed down progress but knows we are moving forward with the vision of acquiring 6,000 jobs and 10,000 homes that will feature affordable housing.
The master-planned community will allow people to work, live and play without ever having to drive a car. Millennials will be able ride a bike or walk to work. The three housing areas will have a home office in each dwelling for those who can work virtually. Fiber-fed Class-A shell space will be available. Our marketing plan will encourage high-tech companies to come to Pocatello. Northgate’s office and technology spaces will house over a million square feet for more than 6,000 employees.
Guess who volunteered to take our vision in person to the 10 to 15 potential companies: Mayor Blad. He is a forward-thinking mayor who was instrumental in getting the Northgate interchange and other progressive changes in the Northgate area.
Since Mayor Blad began his mayor term in 2010, household incomes have gone up from an average of $42,000 to $47,000 in 2021. Unemployment in 2010 was 8 percent. It is 3 percent in 2021. (Census data figures).
Pocatello can and will be a better city if we can get behind Mayor Blad and support his and our vision for a master-planned community
H. Gene Hoge, DMD, is a past president of the Rotary Club of Pocatello, ISU Bengal Foundation and ISU Foundation.