Following through

Tina and Gary Johnson donate $5,000 toward McEuen project

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Coeur d'Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem, left, joins Doug Eastwood, parks director for the city, to accept a private donation of $5,000 from Tina Johnson toward the McEuen Park project Friday in the lobby of the Coeur d'Alene Press.

COEUR d'ALENE - Tina Johnson has been a proponent from the get-go.

The Coeur d'Alene resident even pledged $5,000 to the McEuen Field reconstruction project two years ago to the City Council as a show of support for the undertaking that proved to be bit controversial at times.

On Monday, she and her husband, Gary, followed through with that pledge, handing the city a check for that amount.

"I've been on board since the very beginning," she said.

The donation is to show just that: support, Johnson said. She's not looking for any naming rights anywhere, and would have preferred to remain anonymous but that cover was blown when she got up before the council in a public meeting that was also televised.

"I couldn't be anonymous anymore," she said.

Parks Director Doug Eastwood said Johnson's donation means around $80,000 has come in from personal donations for the park project, including the dog park portion that was privately funded. It's a sign of residents taking ownership of the downtown project, and he said he wouldn't be surprised to see more pledges now that the project has passed the planning process and is under way.

"Thank you very much," Eastwood told Johnson.

Next week, the city will open bids to see which contractor will reconstruct the downtown park and for how much. That unveiling will show the final price for the project, estimated between $17-$20 million.

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