Rolling out the welcome mat

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Posters filled with ideas of innovation for East Sherman hang on the windows of the Coeur d’Alene Library Community Room as Astrid Rial marks her favor for a proposal of improvement Wednesday at the East Sherman public workshop.

COEUR d'ALENE - Mayor Steve Widmyer said the first public workshop on revitalizing the East Sherman area has been years in the making.

More than 100 people attended the workshop Wednesday evening, which took place in the community room at the Coeur d'Alene Public Library. Widmyer said the purpose of the workshop was to gather input from the community on a collective vision for improvements to the city's eastern gateway.

"We want everybody's ideas," Widmyer said. "There's not one idea that is a bad idea."

City Planner Hilary Anderson then explained that city officials weren't approaching the workshop with a plan in mind. Instead, Anderson said, the goal was to make sure the entire community had a chance to be involved throughout the entire planning process.

"This is just the beginning, " she added. "There's no preconceived notions about what East Sherman is."

For the remainder of the two-hour workshop, residents were asked to spend 15 minutes at each of the five stations in the community room.

At one station, attendees were asked to answer two questions - what are the greatest strengths of the area and what does the area need - in five words or less. Participants wrote comments such as "small local businesses for locals" and "proximity to downtown Coeur d'Alene."

Another station gave residents an opportunity to comment on the boundaries of East Sherman. The city of Coeur d'Alene considers 11th Street to Interstate 90 as the area's western and eastern boundaries.

Lakeside Avenue and Front Avenue are considered the area's northern and southern boundaries. As the planning process continues, city officials said, those boundaries could expand.

Coeur d'Alene Police Chief Lee White, and several other members of the department, had a station outlining crime trends in the East Sherman area. White said the area is often a focal point of law enforcement efforts in the city.

"One of our goals is to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community to get us to work more cooperatively to solve problems," he added.

The workshop was co-hosted by the CDA 2030 Vision Project, and Chairman Charles Buck said East Sherman quickly rose to the top of the list when the project was launched in 2013. He told The Press that he was pleased with the large turnout, and that the input received would be invaluable moving forward with the revitalization project.

Another public workshop on East Sherman is scheduled at 5 p.m., June 18, at the Harding Family Center, located at 411 N. 15th St. in Coeur d'Alene.

For more information about the upcoming workshop, contact the city's planning department at (208)769-2240 or by email at planningdiv@cdaid.org.

Hillary Anderson, Coeur d'Alene community planning director, speaks at the East Sherman public workshop Wednesday in Coeur d’Alene. Business and property owners as well as residents attended the event to go over a collective vision for the eastern gateway.

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