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Reflecting on 16 Years as Mayor

Tammy de Weerd shares some of her proudest accomplishments.

Article by Julia Bennett

Photography by Jonni Armani, Meridian City

Originally published in Meridian Lifestyle

Mayor Tammy de Weerd led the city of Meridian from 2004 to 2019. She spent the duration of her time as mayor developing Meridian into the city its residents know and love today. During her time in office, the ambitious mayor helped shepherd projects that played crucial roles in the growth and prosperity of Idaho’s second largest city. Meridian Lifestyle Magazine met up with the former mayor to discuss her time in office and the projects of which she’s most proud. The mayor discussed three projects that were highlights of her time in office.

What is it: Bringing Family Wage Jobs to Meridian

Who Benefits: Meridian residents and Economic Growth 

Where is it located: City-wide

The former mayor also cites bringing family wage jobs to Meridian as one of her biggest accomplishments, while working in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce, the Boise Valley Economic Partnership, and the development community.

“Instead of people leaving the community every morning and coming home at night, by driving into Boise or Nampa, they are actually living and working in our community,” de Weerd said. “Just like bringing in a transportation planner right after being elected, I brought in a dedicated resource to attract businesses.” 

De Weerd said she and her staff focused on attracting realistic business opportunities and looking for synergies among them. In particular they looked to attract business parks, corporate headquarters, and the kind of career opportunities that could offer wages to support a growing family. During her 16 years in office, de Weerd helped attract companies such as United Heritage Insurance, Crucial Technology, and Jacksons Food Stores, Inc.

“We sought to identify industry clusters that made sense for the community like the Health Science and Technology Corridor along Eagle Road and to bring the Village at Meridian to our community,” de Weerd said.

What is it: The Ten Mile Interchange 

Who Benefits: Treasure Valley Residents and Emergency Responders.

Where is it located: Ten Mile Road and I-84

The interchange at Ten Mile Road was a priority for de Weerd since day one in office. The project was completed in May 2011. The former mayor helped bring the interchange to Meridian ten years earlier than scheduled.

“That showed the power of one voice,” de Weerd said. “And it was really bringing all voices together and making it one powerful big voice. So we brought our citizens and city resources together to make it happen.”

One of the first actions de Weerd took when she was elected mayor was to hire a city planner. That individual had the dual role of planning and advocating for enhanced transportation in Meridian. She said the Ten Mile Interchange created not only economic opportunities but it improved public safety on I-84. The project  helped to reduce the congestion at both Eagle Road Interchange and Meridian Road Interchange.

The new interchange also gave emergency responders greater access to accidents on I-84, thereby improving response times and overall public safety.

“The interchange gave the motoring public different options so that when there are accidents on I-84, motorists have alternative routes to continue their travel,” de Weerd said. “The Ten Mile Interchange was not only a significant improvement to Meridian, it was a significant improvement to the mobility of the Treasure Valley.”

What is it: Julius M. Kleiner Memorial Park and The Village at Meridian

Who Benefits: All Treasure Valley Residents 

Where is it located: Eagle Road and Fairview 

“The Julius M. Kleiner Memorial Park was the biggest donation in the history of our city,” de Weerd said. “It was a $25 million donation to the city.”

The 58-acre park includes amenities such as a covered amphitheater, walking and jogging paths, playground equipment, and picnic and meeting areas.

 According to de Weerd, the park site is considered one of the most valuable pieces of property in the state of Idaho. The property was previously owned by the Kleiner brothers. The brothers sold 100 acres of land which is now where the Village is located and used proceeds from the sale to build Julius M. Kleiner Memorial Park, which is named after their father. Both projects broke ground in 2010. De Weerd said the Kleiner brothers had a vision for turning the land into a community park that could benefit the city's residents.

“Working with Eugene Kleiner was one of those opportunities that was a once-in-a-lifetime,” de Weerd explained. “Gaining his trust and understanding his vision for what he wanted to do, it was just incredibly rewarding.”

De Weerd announced her decision not to run for re-election in February 2019. In March, de Weerd was named named the Idaho Business Review’s Woman of the Year for 2020. 

"I had no idea I was going to win," de Weerd said. "But it is such an amazing honor and I am so grateful."

When asked what her biggest challenge is in her post-mayoral life, de Weerd said it was trying to fit all of the miscellaneous items she accumulated during her time in office into her home office space. She is now spending her time as an involved community member, ready to do some home remodeling, and celebrating the time she can enjoy with her family. 

“ I think it’s just absolutely phenomenal that I'm in charge of my schedule instead of my schedule being in charge of me,” de Weerd said.