My site has always been about achieving success. The goal is to have an online community of healthy and wealthy people who are helping others create health and wealth in their lives. This is one reason I began this journey. I am achieving success in my life and I want to share success with others rather than take it from them. I have been telling you a lot about my health journey and I am switching it up a bit to let you in on our wealth journey. www.loyaladvocates.com
The Village At Meridian was my vision to help our Idaho economy, small business owners and Idaho people with jobs and enjoyment.
Back in 2005 I thought of a plan. This is a plan that an Idaho girl could see that her community needed. I realized that businesses were suffering and people were suffering as we headed into a deeper recession. I wanted to create something that would lift the spirits of the people of the community while supporting businesses which would in turn support people by giving them jobs and enjoyment. It had to be so well thought out that businesses would come in and continue to thrive. To support business we need people close by, a lot of people with money so why not have luxury apartments? There needed to be gathering places and cafes. There needed to be a main business with lots of foot traffic. If it was going to be a Theater, it had to be a special theatre with better rates than the others that were failing by the minute.
A beautiful waterfall would enhance the atmosphere, not just a fountain but something even better. My thoughts were based on how we would ride horses in Eastern Idaho at The Fun Farm. We would stop by a waterfall and punch our hands in, grab a bar in back of falls and pull ourselves under. You could see the water falling in front of you. It was very cool. However, I like the way CenterCal chose to use the guy who created the fountains at the Bellagio to make the fountains at my Village. It is beautiful and definitely better than a basic waterfall. I still like the idea of being under the falls though.
Music in the streets would add a nice vibe and since it’s going to be outdoors, street lamps will offer appeal that gives off a European feel…heat lanterns/lamps, fire places, something to keep people warm in the winter. I just loved going to Europe when I was in my early 20s. Prague, Czechoslovakia (it is now Czech Republic for those who are currently in their 20s) was my favorite because of the wholesome feel and the amazing and friendly people. I loved the cobblestone streets and the architecture. Even the manhole covers were decorative. Ours are stamped out. When the CenterCal investor/developer asked, “What special things would you have in this outdoor mall?” This is what I envisioned.
I was there and I walked those streets and I wanted my Idaho friends and family to be able to experience some of that also.
I began telling a few coworkers about my wonderful plan to help our economy in the area. My boss at the time, Mike Chilton (you may remember his name since he ran for Ada County Coroner in 2014), he was also my husband’s friend and co-worker, was opening his first Liberty Tax. He needed help and I decided to get out there, even though I had small children, and give him a hand. I figured I could learn how to do taxes too.
It was interesting finding out that besides working with my husband and starting his own chain of businesses, he also worked with investors as some sort of Finance guy. When Mike heard my idea, he asked me if he could introduce me to one of his investors. He told me he couldn’t promise that he could help me out but asked if I was willing to tell him my idea. I of course said, “Yes!” I had been thinking about this for quite a few years and the economy wasn’t picking up. It needed a real boost. Mike arranged the meeting and I met with the investor in 2010 I believe. (Mike would have record of the time frame of his first Liberty Tax opening and of when I helped him out. Plus, since he arranged it he should have record of the exact date of the meeting)
The investor or now I think he was a developer came in. I started telling my story and he stopped me. He began asking very specific questions that made me think he knew what he was doing and that this might actually happen. I told him the things above and he asked how I envisioned the arrangement of this outdoor community mall? I saw it in a horseshoe but I wanted several points of entry so as not to cut off the flow. It’s important to keep flowing and the best way is in a circular motion that leads customers from business to business and in a continuous pattern (this is how he arranged it also. The Theater is at one end with lots of points of entry and flow going all the way to the Axiom end. He did set it up the way I said which keeps the community entering and going from store to store. I also remember the way people used to park on the streets in small towns rather than parallel parking. You would park right next to the store, not parallel but sort of at an angle, get out of your car and walk right in. It is still sometimes done today but I like the feel of it. It seems more personal and easier. It was cool that CenterCal incorporated that just a bit. However, I do see how with more of a population it’s not that easy to get those spots. I just really liked how you could pull up to the door and then easily pull away. I knew more parking would be necessary but having some would be sort of nostalgic and add to a wholesome feel.
He asked, “What special features would you have?” That’s when I said that cobblestone would be amazing. When I went to Prague, Czechoslavakia (at the time) I absolutely loved the cobblestone streets. He said that would be very expensive. I said, “Put it in the walk ways only then.” Also, a skating rink would be cool. I loved the outdoor rink you always see in the movies like Wollman Rink from NYC. Plus, I remember going to a mall with an Ice skating rink right inside and thinking how cool that was. It was just one more thing to attract the community. He seemed to like the idea because in Idaho we need seasonal attractions. Speaking of weather, how about a big hill for kids to roll down in the summer and sled down in the winter like I did at the Fun Farm when I was a kid. This was my Heaven on Earth. I want everyone to experience just a drop. It was amazing when my grandma, Florence Packer, was alive.
He asked, “What would the buildings look like?” I like unique and I knew the Treasure Valley didn’t have any of these buildings…When I went to Canada in 6th grade with my Sounds of Peace music group from Mountain View Elementary, I saw this beautiful copper top building and I loved the teal colored patina it had. He said that would be very expensive. I said, “Well it could have the look of it.” I mentioned they have buildings like this in Canada but I’ve also seen some pretty cool ones that are similar when I went to Europe. He copied the look pretty well.
He asked, “Where would you put this mall?” I had done my research and knew that Eagle Rd was the busiest road in the state of Idaho. That wasn’t common knowledge at the time. Plus, Fairview is always busy and I wanted to move from Kuna to that area. I said, “The North East Corner of Fairview and Eagle.” I had been researching the best corner for business and that was the corner that my Uncle, Garth Baldwin, one of the successful people I know, said was the best for business due to his research in purchasing the Chevron in Horseshoe Bend, ID. Plus, it made the most sense since it was so large. It could have a park and be very community involving. We need to involve the community so having a community gathering area for families, couples and everyone would be nice. He mentioned, “like a park?” I answered, “Yes, a park would be really great and that’s where the hill could go too and a playing water area that all kids big and small can enjoy. He asked, “Where would the park go?” I knew it would be better for the businesses to be closer to the busy corner so I said, “In the area across from Walmart.”
He thanked me and began to leave but turned around, like Columbo, and asked, “What would you call it?” Once again, I knew exactly what to call it. My husband was from Greenwich Village in upstate New York. New Yorkers are a very leery group. They don’t seem friendly until you get to know them. However, in the village areas the people let down their guards and are very friendly. I really liked the atmosphere and this is where I heard music coming out of the sidewalks for the first time. This is Saratoga, NY which is near Greenwich Village, NY.
I knew it had to be called The Village. The investor paused in confusion like there was another Village. I said, “The Village at Meridian.” He asked, “But isn’t that Boise?” I said, “Maybe, but it’s at Meridian. Plus, the Walmart across the street is the Meridian Walmart. He was satisfied. I really expected him or Mike to get back with me and the next thing I knew they were breaking ground on my village.
I wrote this story for one reason. The reason is that I have a new and far better idea than my Village idea. Although, it does hurt every now and again when people are enjoying my life in a shopping mall and they don’t even know I created it for them. Also, as I pass by and see the fruits of my life sitting there, I feel a bit of sadness. It does make me extremely happy that people are enjoying my vision and experiencing some of what I experienced in my life. Plus, my idea of The Village did play a role in jump starting the Idaho economy which is what I intended it to do. The investor/developer of CenterCal LLC did a great job of bringing my vision to life. However, my question to you is “Why count me out?” I would have been happy to play any part. I could have played some role and been an even greater asset to you as an Idaho girl on your side. Not as wise a decision as it could have been for you but you still have gained tremendously from this Idaho girl’s idea. The great thing is that the people of Idaho have gained as well.
A happier place by far than My Village, this new idea will make Idaho even better. Once again, I will take my life experiences, which are abundant even though I was not a rich girl growing up in Idaho. I still lived and live today a very rich life filled with family and good friends. I want to create this for my Idaho not for a group from California to reap all the rewards this time. They are huge and the easiest way to find investors but I want Idaho to invest in Idaho this time around. I hope you, my loyal advocates, will join me on this new adventure. We will be triumphant!