The road to opportunity

Second phase of education corridor opens

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SHAWN GUST/Press Mark Browning, vice president for comment relations and marketing for North Idaho College, invites attendees to gather Wednesday as a ribbon-cutting ceremony gets underway on River Avenue in Coeur d'Alene.

COEUR d'ALENE - Infrastructure update, part two.

North Idaho College and the city's urban renewal agency, Lake City Development Corp., unveiled Phase 1B of the education corridor, the latest roadway upgrade near the college campus.

Yes, it's ingress and egress improvements, but so much more, too.

The roughly $1 million project - unveiled during a ribbon cutting ceremony with project partners on Wednesday - is the second major project completed around the former mill site property. Together, the street and infrastructure improvements have opened the way for waterfront access for pedestrians and traffic, connected a historic neighborhood and laid the blueprint for where education's footprint can blossom in the heart of Coeur d'Alene.

"Yes, we're opening a street," said Mayor Sandi Bloem. "But let's remember what we're really doing is opening up a place."

The project punched-out River Avenue, connecting to Northwest Boulevard.

Last year, the $3.6 million Phase 1A put in a mile's worth of new roads intersections, sidewalks, and roundabouts along the campus and wastewater treatment plant, completely revamping the entire NIC area.

LCDC paid for a majority of the projects.

"Without urban renewal none of this would have occurred," said Denny Davis, LCDC chair. "We had the resources to do projects like this."

Coeur d'Alene's partnerships, in fact, helped the city earn a City Achievement Award at the 2012 Association of Idaho Cities annual conference in Boise for projects like the education corridor. This project has more LED lights than any other in the Pacific Northwest.

And partnership work - like with the college, city and urban renewal coming together to make the corridor transformation possible - is a direction the community should continue as the area grows, said Mic Armon, North Idaho College board chair.

"I hope that's the direction we go in the future," he said. "That's what this is about."

Man sought on aggravatedbattery charge

The North Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force is seeking information leading to the apprehension of James Hiram Kountz.

Kountz, 56, is being sought based on a Kootenai County felony warrant charging him with aggravated battery as a result of a recent stabbing in Coeur d'Alene. This is a $100,000 bond warrant with United States extradition.

Kountz is a white male, 5-feet-6, 185 pounds, with hazel eyes and gray hair. He was last known to be living in Coeur d'Alene and Hayden areas.

Anyone with information regarding this subject or other fugitives being sought for violent crimes should call the NIVCTF at 665-4455. The identity of callers will remain confidential and reward money is available.

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