New Year brings uncertain future for many businesses on State Street

Smoky Davis is one well known business building that faces demolition in 2018 as the county highway district expands the State Street and Veterans Memorial Parkway intersection. Smoky's owners say they plan to reopen their meat and cheese business somewhere. (KBOI photo)

The New Year -- and a planned ACHD expansion of the intersection at State Street and Veterans Memorial Parkway -- will bring changes to one section of State Street, which has long been home to some well known family businesses.

Everything along this stretch of State Street is still a work in progress, but there's no question people will see changes to venerable old Boise landmarks, like Smoky Davis which is scheduled to be torn down.

Smoky Davis' owner Gary Davis declined an interview for now, citing ongoing negotiations with the Ada County Highway District.

But Davis confirmed the family business, which dates to the 1950s, will continue to sell its meats and cheeses through New Year's Eve.

Then he says the plan is to vacate the building by January 31st, but the goal is to reopen somewhere.

The Zen Bento building next door, once part of the Davis family business when it was called the Smoke Inn, will also be demolished.

The Viking Drive-In, built in 1964, will also see changes.

For one thing, the well known sign must be moved but the family owned business will stay put.

"We fought to stay. And we plan on cooking good food for customers for years to come," said Julie Moore, whose family owns the Viking. "It's more discouraging to lose long time neighbors like Smoky Davis, even the Smoke Inn when it became a new business. Just losing the long time businesses means a lot to me. I'm from Boise."

But the Ada County Highway District says the traditional four-way intersection at Veterans Memorial Parkway and State Street is inadequate to meet the area's growing traffic needs.

ACHD says some 20 businesses will be affected but the expansion project will spare drivers long waits in lines of packed cars.

"And we hope to survive the construction,"Moore said. "And we hope traffic moves more quickly. We hope what they're going to do with traffic works."

Utility relocations are expected to start January 8, said ACHD spokeswoman Nicole DuBoise. The almost $8 million project should be completed late this fall.

In a statement, DuBois also said, "As far as the process goes, we work with people to try to come to agreeable terms during right-of-way negotiations. It is always in the best interest of both parties to reach an agreement and avoid court costs. However, we always work under the threat of condemnation, because we do have a project schedule to keep, and if an agreement cannot be reached before the project begins, then we have the right to exercise our power of eminent domain. In the case of eminent domain, a judge determines what the fair market value of the property is based on the appraisal, and the property owner is reimbursed accordingly. We rarely (less than 3 percent of the time) ever get to that point."

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