McEuen vote supporters try again

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Staff writer

COEUR d’ALENE — A week after a subcommittee killed the request of a public vote regarding the McEuen Field redesign project from reaching the Coeur d’Alene City Council’s desk, around 100 vote supporters attended the council’s Tuesday meeting to ask that the topic come forward anyway.

It didn’t.

“You heard tonight a lot of questions, and that’s where we’re at, too,” Mayor Sandi Bloem told The Press after the council listened to an hour-plus of public testimony, but didn’t motion for the topic to be added to a future council agenda item.

A final design, cost estimates, and funding sources all need to be figured out before the council could make any decisions on the plan.

“And we’re in the middle of that process,” Bloem said.

It might not be the last time the topic comes up in some form to the City Council.

Following the meeting, council President Ron Edinger said he still supports a public vote on the downtown park’s future. But as far as when he would be willing to motion for the topic to come forward for council discussion, he said a lot of work still needs to be done.

When the time would be right, he couldn’t say.

“I think there should be a public vote,” he said. “At some time.”

It’s the second time in as many weeks the request has been made of council officials. On Tuesday at the General Services Committee, a City Council subcommittee that decides upon possible council agenda items, the topic died from a lack of a second.

Edinger motioned for it to go to council then, but on Tuesday a motion wasn’t made.

“It’s disappointing,” said Rita Sims-Snyder leaving the meeting.

Sims-Snyder spoke at the General Services Committee meeting as well, and said after Tuesday’s meeting that she would bring the topic back up to City Council as the process moves forward.

“At least motion it to be an agenda item,” she said.

The public shared concerns they had with the plan, including design and cost. Mostly, they said the public should have a vote in some form, whether on each proposed park perk, an advisory vote, or after every detail has been crunched and put on the November ballot.

Many of the people at the meeting waved signs calling for the vote.

The council listened for more than an hour, taking notes, then motioned for adopting the consent calendar after which, the public began filing out of the Community Room of the public library.

“I don’t think they’ll listen to the public. I was expecting that. I think it’s a done deal,” said Bill Glasco, leaving the meeting. “I see a lot of unhappy people. I see a lot of people unhappy with the way council is running.”

Councilman Al Hassell said after the public comment that the proper avenue to bring the topic to the council had been through the subcommittee. And it didn’t go forward from there.

“This is about the (upcoming November) election and not much of it has to do with McEuen Field,” said Deanna Goodlander, councilwoman, about the polarizing topic.

At the General Services Committee several people spoke in favor of letting the City Council make the decision. Attorney Scott Reed also offered a legal opinion there that putting an administrative topic up to a vote — rather than a legislative one — wouldn’t be a legally viable option.

The council recessed until a workshop at 7:30 a.m. Thursday at the Parkside Towers where council members, Team McEuen and the 21-steering person committee will have a workshop on the McEuen Field park plan. That meeting is open, but will not take public comment.

“We know what you know” Councilman Woody McEvers said about the details of the project. “That hasn’t changed.”

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