Boat parking might stay

Adams, Edinger propose leaving Third Street launch lot where it is

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COEUR d'ALENE - A boat launch without trailer parking attached to it isn't much of a boat launch, according to a pair of City Council members.

City Council members Steve Adams and Ron Edinger want to revisit the McEuen Field conceptual plan by directing its designers, Team McEuen, to include the current boat trailer parking lot at the Third Street marina.

It doesn't make sense to keep the boat launch and not the adjoining parking lot, they said.

"In the spirit of compromise, I think that's fair," Adams said Monday.

The topic will go before the City Council next week after Adams and Edinger requested it be placed on next week's agenda during Monday's General Services Committee meeting.

Adams and Edinger are opponents of the McEuen Field plan.

Since January, nearly every topic tied to McEuen Field has been decided four votes to three votes, with Mayor Sandi Bloem, who supports the plan, breaking the deadlocks.

On March 6, the council agreed by that one-vote margin to enter into a $1.9 million contract with Team McEuen to create construction documents for Phase 1 of the downtown park overhaul.

Phase 1 includes the Third Street boat launch, which wasn't the case when the conceptual plan was first pitched more than a year ago. Phase 1 also includes a parking lot on the east side of the park, near City Hall. Designers planned to use the east lot for roughly 60 boat trailer parking spaces while the boat launch remained at McEuen Field, which currently has approximately 47 spaces.

Adams said he received feedback from constituents after the council agreed to go forward with Phase 1 of the project on March 6 that the proposed parking change wouldn't be 'equal or better' than what's there now.

Parking trailers that far from water would be inconvenient, Adams said.

Keeping the boat launch was one of the most divisive topics about the downtown park proposal. The conceptual plan originally called for its removal, but it was kept largely intact after planners scaled back Phase 1 of the project, and the timeline for acquiring property for a replacement launch didn't coincide with the park plan.

After the GSC meeting Monday, Edinger said he doesn't feel he needs to compromise on any parts of the plan, despite the boat launch staying. He said he and the new council members were elected in November to fight the McEuen plan.

"What would we have to compromise?" he said. "I think we're representing what the people in Coeur d'Alene said in the last election: That they're not happy with the plan. And that's what we're fighting for."

Mayor Sandi Bloem said she was disappointed with Edinger's stance on compromise.

She said compromise has led to dramatic changes in the conceptual plan since it was first introduced, such as keeping the boat launch and removing Tubbs Hill changes altogether.

"I'm disappointed," she said. "I guess I have a different opinion whether or not there should be some compromise, and I feel there has been."

Mike Kennedy was the lone GSC member to oppose the request.

He said he wasn't surprised of Edinger's opinion on not compromising since Edinger has been firmly entrenched in his position from the start.

"He's been that way since the beginning," Kennedy said, adding he didn't receive much feedback from constituents about the boat launch parking lot change after the March 6 meeting. "I'm charged with representing all of the people, not just some. So I have to look both short and long-term what the best value for the community is.

"Stubbornness for stubbornness' sake isn't a virtue," he added. "I think compromise is key to this whole process. Nobody gets everything they want.

A path would connect the east side parking lot and boat launch along the base of Tubbs Hill, according to Phase 1 conceptual design.

Adams said incorporating the current trailer parking lot would show compromise since the plan appears to be going forward despite some council members' objections.

Team McEuen's Monte Miller said the designers will get together later in the week or Monday to see how much work would be required to alter the plan. Parks Director Doug Eastwood said he couldn't comment on any proposed changes, but the city and designers were moving forward on their current agreement.

The topic will go before the City Council at 6 p.m. April 3 in the Community Room of the Coeur d'Alene Public Library.

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