Parking plan pondered

Boat trailers could be parked closer to Third Street launch

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COEUR d'ALENE - Boat trailer parking could end up much closer to the Third Street boat launch after all.

Team McEuen, the design and architect professionals crafting the McEuen Field redevelopment plan, said they may able to include between 30 and 50 boat trailer parking spots near the boat launch adjacent to Front Street.

The possibility became evident recently as Team McEuen continues working on construction documents for the downtown park's overhaul, and shared the findings with city officials Thursday morning during a design review meeting.

"It really evolved when we got into the details," said Dick Stauffer, Team McEuen park designer.

Conceptual drawings weren't available Thursday, but drafts show that the boat trailer parking could be placed just north of the Third Street boat launch on the south edge of the proposed on-grade parking site, meaning they would be at the same level as the boat launch but below Front Street. It would be a similar distance from the launch as the current trailer parking lot is, and they would be the first spots available entering the parking area from the boat launch.

"I think it is a good compromise," said Doug Eastwood, parks director, on keeping boat trailer parking near the launch.

Moving boat parking was one of the contested components of the controversial McEuen Field plan.

Coeur d'Alene City Council members Ron Edinger and Steve Adams asked the parks department earlier this year not to move the trailer parking lot.

Eastwood said at the time that change would have thwarted the whole plan since utility infrastructure would have to be relocated.

But this change became possible as the designers turned conceptual plans into blueprints.

If the change works out, Eastwood and Stauffer said it would still accomplish other park goals of removing asphalt from the water's edge without sacrificing green space since boat parking would be incorporated where parking is already set to go.

Still, it's only in draft stage.

City officials and Team McEuen are meeting weekly to review the project and stay in communication as it nears completion. It would ultimately be up to the City Council to decide what, if any, project should go out to bid in the spring.

On June 28, Team McEuen will present the most updated construction documents to city officials, and Lake City Development Corp., members, during a public workshop at McEuen Tower.

Edinger hadn't seen a drawing of the proposed change Thursday afternoon. He did question the timing of the switch since the council members had asked that the boat parking be kept closer to the boat launch earlier.

"Why all of a sudden now? Why is that happening? I just question that," Edinger said, adding he still supports the concept of keeping parking and launching "very, very, very close together" but didn't want to comment on the possible switch without having seen it. "Why couldn't this have been thought of before? All of the sudden now they're coming forward with something? It's awful strange that all of a sudden they could come up with a plan like this."

Adams didn't return a message Thursday afternoon.

The current reconstruction plan calls for moving the boat trailer parking to a parking lot south of City Hall. That change was what Edinger and Adams had protested.

After reviewing the site, Team McEuen felt the parking lot would have had to expand south of Young Avenue to incorporate all the boat trailer parking spaces.

Boat trailer parking could still be a part of the south lot if the reconstruction goes through.

Hayes: Recall petition rejection rate rises

The rejection rate for petition signatures has increased, Kootenai County Clerk Cliff Hayes announced Thursday in a press release.

The approximate signature rejection percentages for all four Coeur d'Alene city incumbents targeted by a recall effort is about 18 percent, up from around 12 percent Wednesday.

Hayes said about 30 percent of the petitions had been checked.

Each incumbent's petition has between 5,267 and 5,384 signatures.

Generally, the petitions need to maintain a signature rejection rate 20 percent or less to prompt a recall election, as 4,311 certified signatures are required to hold a special election for the seats held by council members Mike Kennedy, Woody McEvers, Deanna Goodlander and Mayor Sandi Bloem.

Stop The Recall, a citizen group formed to oppose the recall, is checking copies of the petitions to a registered voter list. Organizer Jennifer Drake said Wednesday the group is hovering around the same rejection rate as Hayes' office. It has checked more than 50 percent of the petitions, Drake said.

The official results will be announced at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the latest.

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