JEROME — Four new park benches and a trail head marker now greet people at the top of the Yingst Grade south of Jerome Country Club. The newly installed features are the latest additions to the growing Yingst Grade Park and part of long-term visions from those developing the Snake River Canyon Park and other sites in both Jerome and Twin Falls counties.
“Back in 2018, we started conversations with Mike Tylka with the Snake River Canyon Park and we identified the Yingst Grade area as a potential area that looked great to improve,” Western Magic Valley Realtors association executive Ryan Swinney said. “After we established that as a spot, it just happen to be that Jerome and Twin Falls counties also identified it as an area to improve, with hopefully getting the broken bridge fixed, and I think we were ahead of the curve on getting this park in because I think the whole area is going to grow and develop and be a great recreational area.”
The National Association of Realtors offers a grant program that local Realtors can apply for to help undeveloped areas improve, like trailheads and parks.
“WMVR had to make applications for the grants, come up with a good plan and it was approved by NAR,” Swinney said. “Not everybody receives the funding because their area doesn’t match the specific requirements area or the park doesn’t match, so it takes us knowing about the program and then making the application and being rewarded with it.”
College of Southern Idaho welding school students built the benches and trailhead marker, but COVID-19 restrictions and other delays in spring forced the project to stew a little longer than planned.
“We contracted with (the college) to build it and I think they did a remarkable job,” Swinney said.
A bike rack was also planned for the park but was taken off the project, yet all the moving pieces finally came together, Swinney said, among all challenges faced during the process.
The project cost approximately $4,000, $2,800 being funded by the Realtors and the remaining $1,200 from the Harrison sisters.