COEUR d'ALENE - The city of Coeur d'Alene wants to study the numbers - all the different numbers - before it decides whether it will take over roughly 5 miles of East Coeur d'Alene Lake Drive.
After hours of public testimony Monday evening, and an open questions and answers forum with state and city officials, the City Council said it wants to take in the different viewpoints before it schedules the next step on deciding the old highway's fate.
"We have lots of concerns in front of us," Mayor Sandi Bloem said. "Absolutely, we need to get more information on this and consider, on both sides of the fence, and we'll do that."
The Idaho Transportation Department is looking to give the waterfront road away because it no longer wants to maintain it. It's offering the city $3 million to take it.
The city is considering it because along with the money, it would guarantee local, not state, control over waterfront property popular with bicyclists and pedestrians as it is with motorists.
While ITD is in the business of transportation, the city parks department is charged with improving public parks and recreation opportunities, said parks director Doug Eastwood, which is why the waterfront property might be in better hands with the city. The state likely won't improve or beautify waterway access spots, while the city could.
But a majority of neighbors who showed up Monday didn't approve the city taking ownership. They said they were concerned it was the first step toward possible annexation, that maintenance would be more expensive than anticipated, public access was already good enough, and the true motive for the city considering the deal was it would secure a spot near Silver Beach for a boat launch to be built.
"I think the city would have a lot more than $14,000 a year in maintenance," said Greg Delevan, who lives near the road.
Bloem said the city doesn't have any plans to build a boat launch there, as that plan fell through after the city agreed to keep the Third Street boat launch at McEuen Field. It's not annexation, either, she added, which is usually sought by property owners wanting inside city limits, not the city grabbing unsuspecting county residents.
But city, state, and East Side Highway District officials and residents all had slightly different accounts for how much the road would actually cost to keep.
An overlay of the street could cost around $1.2 million, for example.
The ESHD had at one point engaged in discussion with the state to take over the same stretch of road. Chris Fillios, ESHD commissioner, said the road was in need of an overlay now.
"We didn't feel it was worth it," he said.
But the state said it's at least five years before an overlay is needed, and city engineer Gordon Dobler estimated it could be closer to 10 more years before one is needed.
Also, the state budgets $150,000 in maintenance for the road, $2,400 of which to fill in a re-occurring dip at Redman Hill. Tim Martin, street superintendent said he could maintain and plow it for around $13,000, not counting $2,400 for Redman Hill. A big difference in the budgets is because the state adds the depreciation in its vehicles from the usage while maintaining the road while the city doesn't.
The city said it wants to crunch all those numbers before a next move is planned.
In case of a slide that closes the road, the state would remain responsible for repair.