McEuen Park work passes halfway point

Public open house is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 12

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Coeur d'Alene Recreation Director Steve Anthony explains the process the city will use to select the next piece of public art for McEuen Park's Third Street entrance. The public is encouraged to vote on the projects, which are displayed in the upper level of the Coeur d'Alene Public Library through the McEuen open house on Oct. 12.

COEUR d'ALENE - City workers here are gearing up for a public open house event on the east side of McEuen Park to be held a week from Saturday on Oct. 12.

City staff briefed the Coeur d'Alene City Council Tuesday night on the status of the McEuen Park makeover.

Dennis Grant, engineering project manager, said the contractors are a little more than halfway through the budget and allotted days for construction.

Of the $15 million budget about $8.9 million or 57 percent has been spent. Likewise 52 percent, or 194 days, of the contracted days of work have passed. Overall, he said the project is on track.

"Nov. 19th is the next key date to keep a watch on to open up Front Street," he said. "The contractor is doing a good job."

As for the park itself, Grant said the basketball courts are complete, the tennis courts are nearly completed and the Splash pad work is underway.

"If you take that walk down the base of Tubbs Hill you can get a great view of the basketball court, the tennis courts and the splash pad," he said.

The kids park is close to complete, Grant said. The fake Astroturf style grass is in, and the hydro-seeding is down on the east side of the park.

"I'm guessing in a week and a half or so you will see a little stubble of grass coming up there. "We have had plenty of rain, so we are waiting for some sun to pop that seed out, and I'm hoping that'll happen in the next week or so."

The east side of the park is what the city plans to open for a public viewing on Oct. 12, from 2 to 6 p.m.

"What that means is we are not opening the structure for play, we just want to make sure that is clear," said City Administrator Wendy Gabriel. "What we are doing is essentially a walk-through, so you can walk through and get a feel for what it is like and actually look at what's going on in the park."

Gabriel said people who are planning to go should make sure to wear closed-toe shoes and explained that parts of the park will be fenced off in the dangerous areas.

After touring the park, residents are invited to check out four marquettes - or small-scale models - of public art that will be permanently displayed in the park.

"If people want to do the walk-through, they can get a good idea of where the piece will be located," said Steve Anthony, recreation director for the city, who also is the liaison to the City Arts Commission.

The marquettes are located in the upper level of the Coeur d'Alene Public Library, and the public is encouraged to vote for their preference on what they would like to see.

On the west end of the park, the Third Street Boat Launch was opened on schedule Tuesday, Grant said.

"If you are a boat owner, you can start taking your boat out probably anytime now," he said, adding that some might want to wait until they get that surface a little harder but things should be fine today.

"I heard that the Blackwell Island boat ramp closed (Tuesday) because of the government shutdown," Grant said, adding the Third Street ramp may see more pressure.

He said work will continue this week to complete all of the major concrete work.

All of the concrete work has been completed on the parking garage. The bridge deck coming down Fourth Street will be poured on Friday, which will complete all of the major concrete work for the project, he said.

"We still have a minor pour with the sundial," Grant said, adding that amenity was added back to the park plans.

The pavilion walls are starting to go up, and the overlook near the Third Street boat ramp area is just getting started.

Paving won't start on the boat ramp area until the end of October or early November, he said.

Demolition of Fifth Street between Sherman and Front will begin on Monday and Fourth Street demolition between Sherman and Front will begin a week later.

"I will be going down to talk with businesses in that area (today)," Grant said.

He said the Fourth Street demolition may involve a brief disruption in water service in that area. He said those projects will include new sidewalks, curbs and paving and they are planning to finish those projects to coincide with the opening of Front Street.

Councilman Dan Gookin asked Grant when the Front Avenue and Seventh Street intersection would re-open.

Grant said the contractor is preparing the road for paving as soon as Friday. They are going to pave in front of the parking garage first, and then pave all the way up to Sixth Street and a section of Sixth between Sherman and Front and the intersection.

"When it actually gets done will be weather dependent," he said, adding he hopes it will be completed by Friday or Saturday.

Either way, it will be complete before the open house event, he added.

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