COEUR d'ALENE - Lines penned, numbers crunched; details becoming more clear.
McEuen Field's design team, Team McEuen, laid out updated construction details on the downtown park's $14.2 million redevelopment plan Thursday, with a couple of finer points emerging from what started as a conceptual plan.
For example, an 80-foot-long replica of Lake Coeur d'Alene could lie at the feet of passersby near the waterfront on the western edge of the park, a public art display that doubles as a map with each of the bays labeled accordingly.
It could be interactive art, too - a bay of one's choice lighting up on command.
"As we dive into development, ideas continue to emerge," said designer Dick Stauffer, who presented the construction documents to City Council, Lake City Development and park steering committee members during a morning workshop. "We see this as an art piece" that becomes a focal point.
A nod to North Idaho's history could also be a staple of playgrounds and trail crossings.
For the splash pad, children could climb over a tugboat relic.
Crossing Centennial Trail but before dropping down into the park on Sixth Street, visitors could view Tubbs Hill and the lake from a rustic-themed lookout point fashioned after a forest fire observation tower.
"This is the stuff that's being explored," Stauffer said.
Team McEuen is currently drawing construction documents on the park plan. The goal is to put the project out to bid by next spring. Thursday's presentation represented 30 percent of the completed work, with future workshops planned when the blueprints are 60 percent completed and then again at 90 percent.
And that devil, parking, is also in the details.
The plan calls for 25 boat trailer parking spots adjacent the Third Street Boat Launch beneath Front Avenue as part of the parking facility tucked beneath the street, and 23 more boat trailer stalls on the proposed east side parking lot near City Hall. In all, parking spaces will go from the current 595 to 719.
One of the project's goals is to turn waterfront pavement into park space. By placing the parking under Front Avenue, the park was going to gain nearly 5 acres of park or green space. But to make room for the boat trailer stalls close to the launch, that number has dropped to about 4 acres.
As for Centennial Trail details: The trail would be separated into two lanes by a grassy buffer. The bicycle side would be 12 feet wide, while walkers would be given an 8-foot lane. A loop around the park would be two-thirds of a mile, with distance markers and exercise stations dotted along the route. One possibility that emerged is connecting the trail between City Hall and the library buildings. That cost isn't in the budget, and would run around $125,000.
"We hope this is an element someone would adopt," Stauffer said of fundraising for the connection.
While Thursday's meeting was an informative one, familiar divides on the topic came through.
McEuen Field was the primary driving force behind the recently failed recall petition drive that targeted the four incumbents who supported it. And Thursday, Council members Ron Edinger, Steve Adams and Dan Gookin voiced concerns as they have since the get-go that they don't favor removing the American Legion Baseball Field from the park.
Gookin questioned the compromising factor that has changed the current plan from the original conceptual plan, and Edinger, at one point during a discussion about the baseball field, muttered a swear word before stepping out in the hallway for a break.
"Who are you compromising with?" Gookin said. "It looks to me you've run out of money so you change the plan and call it a compromise."
Not so, Mayor Sandi Bloem countered. The McEuen Field project has undergone meetings too numerous to count, and no other topic has received as much attention, she said. Compromise has been a big part of it.
"There's been compromise all along," she said. "Part of that compromise might be for those of you who want baseball there, to say, 'You know, we did get some of those things changed and baseball might not be changing right now.' Compromise works both ways.
"Nobody in this room probably likes everything," Bloem added, "nor should we because it isn't a park that belongs to any one of us individually."