Julius Kleiner: Gentlemen Farmer, Community Leader and Honored Citizen
Meridian, Idaho is one of the fastest growing communities in the Treasure Valley. With its appealing suburban communities, plenitude of nearby parks and active sports facilities, it comes as no surprise that is has gained quite a draw in recent years. With the addition of the new,Julius M. Kleiner Memorial Park this nearly 60-acre parcel is located on the busy corner of Eagle Road and Fairview Avenue but is brimming with new and exciting features, including a pond, a bandshell/amphitheater and an extensive grassy area sprinkled with playground equipment, bike trails and picnic shelters. But who exactly is this namesake for whom this area was named after?
By the time that Russian immigrant, Julius Kleiner managed to make his way to American shores, he had endured a tumultuous journey across the immense Russian expanse, traveled the Siberian railways that covered most of Asia and eventually crossed the Great Pacific Ocean. In 1915, at the age of 23, he finally reached Seattle where he took on an assortment of jobs, one of which brought him to Spokane, Washington and introduced him to what would become a lifelong passion; farming.
Once learning the creamery trade, Mr. Kleiner, took over a working creamery in Caldwell, Idaho during the 1920’s and would remain steadfast to this vocation, becoming renowned throughout the Treasure Valley and integral to establishing a milk co-op for local area farmers. But Julius Kleiner didn’t stop there; he became a well-respected businessman who accumulated land and other farming ventures. Throughout his years in the Treasure Valley he was active in the local community supporting area Boy Scout troops, the Salvation Army and a Board Member of a Nampa Hospital to which the Intensive Care Unit would eventually bear his name.
A Gift to Meridian Residents and Home Owners
Gene Kleiner, Julius son donated the family farm to honor his fathers endless passion for farming and community activism with a one-of-a-kind suburban oasis. Fortunately for Treasure Valley residents, we now reap the rewards with the new Julius M. Kleiner Park; a treasure trove of family-friendly amenities, activities and numerous sheltered picnic areas, including barbecue grills, bucolic ponds, miles of winding bike trails and grassy lawns as well as the site of the new Meridian Senior Center. But the amenities do not stop here. Included in the 60 acres of former farmland is the “Rock of Honor Veteran’s Memorial Site” a hallowed site dedicated to the lives of sixty two United State’s soldiers.
Perhaps if you are out and about after taking in a movie or dinner at the Village Shopping Center” you might want to take a little diversion afterwards and wander through the lush grounds of Julius M. Kleiner Park. Stroll along the expansive landscaping, and take a gander at the grounds of the community garden, the labyrinth and obelisks and learn all about JMK Farms at the history kiosk. A few steps further will take you to the seven foot bronze statue and lasting tribute to Mr. Julius Kleiner.