Now what?

City of Coeur d’Alene looks ahead now that McEuen Field design has been approved

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COEUR d'ALENE - Back to the drawing board.

The next move for the McEuen Field designers will be to transform the downtown park's conceptual design into detailed construction documents.

That task, which could take six to eight months, will likely be assigned to the conceptual team designers, Team McEuen.

"We're a ways off," Parks Director Doug Eastwood said on Wednesday, the day after the park's conceptual plan was adopted 5-1 by the Coeur d'Alene City Council. "It will probably take the remainder of this year to come up with design documents once we get to that stage."

For the first time in half a year, the McEuen Field project isn't scheduled for a public meeting.

Financial talk, however, could be next in line.

The city's urban renewal agency - Lake City Development Corp. - will discuss during its June meeting lending offers several banks proposed after the agency inquired about borrowing money to help fund the McEuen Field project.

The agency said several weeks ago it could be comfortable borrowing up to $11.7 million for its Lake District.

As far as the conceptual plan, that part is done.

Tuesday's council approval completed Team McEuen's $125,000 contract to craft that vision. But a contract clause allows the agreement to be extended to begin work on construction documents since the City Council adopted the plan.

Those talks will start next week, Eastwood said.

How many of the amenities those documents would include is yet to be determined, but it could go to bid next spring.

Meantime, the city could begin to look deeper into funding sources for the replacement baseball and boat launch facilities included, Mayor Sandi Bloem said.

Bloem was emotional after Tuesday night's council vote, her eyes tearing up as people congratulated her. At times, the audience cheered, booed or heckled.

"Now I feel like, hey, we do have a road map," she said after the meeting.

"I certainly like differences of opinion," she added. "But I don't like it when people are disrespectful. There was some of that."

On Wednesday, she said more work needs to be done, including figuring out how many phases the project could require.

Team McEuen recommended the first phase represent the project's footprint. That would be the bulk of the infrastructure. For about $15 to $17 million, it would cover the west side of the park, including Fourth Street and Front Avenue improvements, underground parking, while removing the boat launch and putting in grass, grand plaza and veterans memorial down to the water.

But replacement facilities have to be intact before they are removed from McEuen Field, the City Council said.

Ron Edinger, the lone councilman to oppose the plan, said he likely wouldn't support the plan moving forward as long as the boat launch and baseball fields are not a part of the park. He said he could make a motion again to the City Council for a public vote. That motion died twice Tuesday.

"Who knows, like I say, I'll just have to wait and see," Edinger said. "There is time yet, you can bring it up."

City staff and the Tubbs Hill Foundation will meet in the coming months to discuss accessibility and connectivity issues regarding Tubbs Hill.

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