KIM COOPER: We are not alone

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Not as in an alien invasion sort of way although some locals may look at it that way. This paper recently reported the impact that growth is having on our schools and infrastructure. Spirit Lake has issued a building moratorium due to its rapid growth and strains on their infrastructure pushing their sewage disposal systems to the limit.

As prices increase in Coeur d’Alene, buyers looking for more affordable housing reach out of North Idaho’s more rural communities. Other parts of the Inland Northwest are not as fortunate in that their suburban communities are already higher priced than our average.

A trip to neighboring Montana last week reveled some real challenges there. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle ran a series of articles last week that illustrate how fortunate we in North Idaho are. In Belgrade, Mont. — just 11 miles outside Bozeman — people are beginning to experience their own invasion. With its average home price of $291,382 — up from around $260,000 (closer to Coeur d’Alene’s average) just three months ago. The prices, says the Chronicle are due largely to “Bozeman refugees” who move to Belgrade to be able to afford a home. A 2,400-square-foot home in Bozeman will run $367,241 on average according to a study there conducted by Prospera Business Network.

Both Bozeman, and as a result, Belgrade, are struggling to manage growth like in our area. The city of Belgrade (population estimate 8,500 to 8,800) has been taking proactive steps to prepare for growth and avoid sprawl.

Recently a group of Belgrade citizens organized to block the development of multi-family units within their neighborhood much like the proposed development in our own mid-town neighborhood just a few years ago.

Ted Barkley, Belgrade city manager said, when he first started abound three and a half years ago, he hears a lot of complaints about living in the shadow of Bozeman. His view of the Belgrade is different. Rather than a shadow he said he sees it as living in the light of Bozeman.

“And that light is that economic energy that Bozeman brings to Gallatin Valley,” he said.

Perhaps there are similar feelings about Coeur d’Alene by its surrounding communities — rather than an invasion, our growth might be considered as opportunity for our future generations. It is always interesting to see parallels with the challenges our neighbors face and to learn from their failures and successes as we continue to grow and thrive as a community.

Trust an expert…call a Realtor. Call your Realtor or visit www.cdarealtors.com to search properties on the Multiple Listing Service or to find a Realtor member who will represent your best interests.

• • •

Kim Cooper is a real estate broker and the spokesman for the Coeur d’Alene Association of Realtors. Kim and the association invite your feedback and input for this column. You may contact them by writing to the Coeur d’Alene Association of Realtors, 409 W. Neider, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83815 or by calling (208) 667-0664.

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