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Nampa Mayor Debbie Kling stands next to the 2020 time capsule at Nampa City Hall.

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The year 2020 is history. And Nampa Mayor Debbie Kling decided it needed a decent burial.

Kling came up with the idea naturally, organically, she said. “I mean, it was a year unlike any other in our lifetime. A pandemic. An earthquake. Upheaval and unrest. A presidential election very notable, very challenging. Boy, a volatile year. I just thought: it’s important to capture 2020. For future generations to look back on.”

Kling decided an appropriate way to see the year out — and to look toward what’s on the horizon, with hope — was to gather symbols, artifacts, letters and whatever else embodied 2020 to the citizens of Nampa — and tuck it all into a time capsule. Seal it up. Not to be opened for 30 years.

“I just got to thinking 2020 was such a memorable year. It isn’t often you have a pandemic,” Kling said. She remembers watching a video around 2003 or ‘04 about the pandemic of 1918 and wondering then “if we’ll ever walk through a pandemic again. … You never know what’s going to happen.”

She admits it will be a challenge to get all those 2020 “moments” in a time capsule, “but I think it’s important we capture all of them that we can.”

Of course, there will be a roll of toilet paper representing the early shutdown panic and supply chain problems surrounding paper products. “We’ll have a lot of (face) masks and we’ll hopefully have a (COVID-19) vaccine in there,” Kling said.

The mayor’s office invited the entire Nampa community to submit a letter to include in the capsule.

The capsule itself, donated by Zeyer Funeral Chapel, is a cremation vault (maybe two), measuring 18 inches square. “It’s made out of concrete. It will be housed on city property, at City Hall,” Kling said.

It’s a fitting end — and receptacle — for the year that was, said Kling.

“We’re literally going to bury 2020.”

Jeanne Huff is the community engagement editor for the Idaho Press. You can reach her at 208-465-8106 and follow her on Twitter @goodnewsgirl.

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