Idaho Expo Riverfront Park
Envisioning A New Riverfront Park
RIOS participated in the park design competition to design the future of the 90-acre site at Expo Idaho, the former site of the Les Bois Park horse racing track. Dubbed Expo Reach, we imagine a dynamic, climate-adapted park where visitors can connect with nature, relax, and play. By creating shared experiences and integrating ecological principles, our vision transforms the Garden City grounds into a year-round riverfront center for the community.
Our vision for the new park in Boise, Idaho, is guided by the following design principles:
- Foster Community
- Engage the River and Promote Resiliency
- Connect to Nature
- Provide Shade and Areas of Respite
- Promote Safe Walkability
- Promote Recreation and Play for All
Expanding the River's Edge
The park is positioned to maximize the experience along the Boise River, extending the river footprint into the historic floodplain and including several local ecologies. This design brings the river experience into the site to connect the community more deeply to this vital recreational corridor. A sports meadow, play gardens, and walkways create shared experiences for everyone as connections to the water overlap with community-oriented programs.
Reinventing the Grandstand
With our proposal, the existing horse track and grandstand will transform into an experiential circuit linking the entire park. It incorporates biking and walking paths, as well as boardwalks, sports fields, play gardens, adventure areas, wetlands, and the river. Fishing pier and overlooks enhance connections to the river, providing visitors access to curated moments and proximity to the water.
An iconic feature of the site, the grandstand provides a large gathering area. Our proposal envisions the grandstand as a super pavilion for year-round events, food and beverage activations, and community experiences. The new grandstand will serve as the park’s anchor and gateway for arrivals.
As a climate-adapted park, Expo Park's landscape design addresses future challenges.
This park’s design provides a year-round gathering space for Ada County residents. Meadows, topography, and ecological features support seasonal events, biodiversity, and unique play opportunities. Visitors can also access the site from all sides because the design considers the fluctuation of high and low tides.