Council tours The Broadway site

Mayor Rebecca Casper listens to a discussion on proposed ordinance at a June 2014, Idaho Falls City Council work session. City officials are developing a policy for managing its flagpole use after City Attorney Randy Fife recommended that the POW / MIA flags be taken down from city-owned flagpoles because he couldn’t find the legal reasoning as to why they were being flown.

Trekking down the gravel underground path, the Idaho Falls City Council makes its way into the underbelly of the soon-to-be finished Broadway project. As the council members circle up in the gray, concrete parking garage, the possibilities of the construction zone’s finished project starts to emerge.

The council toured The Broadway’s construction site during its Monday work session where its members earlier discussed flagpole policy and public record protocol.

It’s hard to imagine looking at the steel beams and dusty walls, but The Broadway is set to be finished by this fall. It will host several retailers and offices, including Smokin Fins restaurant, Parson Behle & Latimer legal office, Bank of Idaho and Lucy’s Pizza.

Construction on The Broadway is about 65 percent completed.

During construction and upon completion the project is set to bring hundreds of jobs to Idaho Falls. The owners of Smokin Fins alone plan to hire 75 people for the restaurant; and the construction process brought about 200 jobs.

One of the project’s goals is to attract people to downtown and help revitalize the area. With its views of the Snake River and fountain courtyard, The Broadway gives people a central location to dine, shop and work downtown.

The first tenant to move in will be Smokin Fins in October. The remaining tenants will start to trickle into the building over the course of the next six months. There will be 49 parking spaces that will be free for two hours for public use. After two hours, people must pay for parking.

Flagpole use

City officials also are developing a policy for managing flagpole use on city property. City Attorney Randy Fife said city-owned flagpoles are a First Amendment issue and there needs to be clear and consistent policies for how to regulate them.

The issue to be resolved is to determine whether the government is “speaking” when it puts up a flag, or whether it is considered a limited, or public forum, Fife said.

“The matter has arisen due to some confusing reporting that the city is enacting policy that is disrespectful to veterans,” Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper said, referring to policy discussions on whether or not to take down the POW/MIA flags.

Fife recommended that the POW/MIA flags be taken down because he couldn’t find the legal reasoning as to why they were being flown. This could lead to future complications about why and how the city chooses to fly certain flags if there’s no legal reasoning or policy behind it.

As the city grows and becomes more diverse, the city needs to look at how and why it does certain practices, Casper said.

Public records

City officials are crafting a flowchart that it might post on its website to help the public direct records requests and information requests to the appropriate person.

Recently, to abide by state statute, the city designated the city clerk as the official custodian of records for the city, and the assistant city clerk as an alternative.

This means the city clerk should be the person records requests for city documents are sent to.

The chart also designates that if a person wants a police record they should go through the police records clerk and if a person has an inquiry about information that isn’t yet a document, or no record created, then the request goes to the city public information officer.

Reporter Isabella Alves can be reached at 208-542-6711 or follow her on Twitter @IsabellaAlves96