Cd'A: Legion left out of McEuen planning - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Cd'A: Legion left out of McEuen planning

Group wasn't represented on 21-person team

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Posted: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - The American Legion said it was left out when it came to planning McEuen Field.

They were, city officials said on Monday, but by accident.

The American Legion wasn't represented in the 21-person steering committee that comprised various stakeholders in charge of helping craft the conceptual plan for revamping the downtown 20-acre park. An American Legion Baseball representative was appointed, Dennis Spencer, but a breakdown in communication prevented word of planning progress from getting back to the American Legion.

The committee assumed Spencer was in communication with the Legion as the baseball representative, and Spencer assumed the Legion had its own information pipeline.

Neither was the case.

"We messed up," Mayor Sandi Bloem told around 25 Legionnaires during an informal question and answer meeting about the McEuen Field conceptual plan at the American Legion Post 14 building in Midtown. "I'm not afraid to say we messed up. I'll take all the blame for not having you on the committee up front."

After the apology, Monday's meeting also gave Legionnaires a chance to voice their concerns with the project.

Two thorns stick in the Legion's "craw," said Dusty Rhoads, adjutant for the American Legion Post 14. Those are: Removing the Freedom Tree and moving forward with the project without a long-term solution as to where to put the baseball field.

"That really hits us pretty deep," Rhoads said.

Instead, move the Freedom Tree and include it in the park, the Legion said.

It also wants a written promise on where the new baseball field will go. The temporary solution is to build up the Coeur d'Alene High School baseball facility, and some members worry a long-term solution won't be found after it is.

"I'm concerned American Legion Baseball in Coeur d'Alene will disintegrate," said Jamie Duman, Coeur d'Alene American Legion president.

The Legion also supports the McEuen proposal being put to a public vote.

The problem is the city can't promise land it doesn't have. But if some becomes available for a future ball field, the city will hold to its promise of replacing the McEuen Legion field with one of equal or better value.

As is usually the case with McEuen Field, the discussion was passionate.

Some said they felt the final plan was already a done deal, but Bloem reiterated that nothing in the plan is finalized.

The public will have more opportunities to weigh in, and their suggestions will be considered, as they have been this far along, she said. The City Council will have the final vote on the conceptual plan, whatever it turns out to be, but the public's vote is coming through online surveys and from input at public meetings.

City Council President Ron Edinger said he wouldn't vote for the plan as it's presented.

"I say it like it is," the councilman said. "If that ticks some people off, that's the way it goes."

Passions aside, several said agreements on all the fields will probably be met.

"They'll get there," said Eric Klepfe, legion board member, on the sides finding a new baseball field. "It's been a good relationship in the past and that's the only way to get there, to sit down and talk about it."

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  • Susie Snedaker posted at 6:42 pm on Tue, Jan 18, 2011.

    Susie Snedaker Posts: 80

    First, they eliminated the parking in front of the American Legion building. Now they want to eliminate the American Legion ballfield? So much for the city with a heart.

  • Dan Gookin posted at 5:43 pm on Tue, Jan 18, 2011.

    Dan Gookin Posts: 752

    chouli: You need to read OpenCdA. Go to our Documents section and read up on what the LCDC does. Little if any of it deals with "blight." Even the LCDC's Tony Berns has said that there is no blight in Idaho.

  • chouli posted at 5:12 pm on Tue, Jan 18, 2011.

    chouli Posts: 1294

    Why would we want to give up the small town nature of CDA to have a ‘destination park’ with everything under the sun packed into it? I like the open green grass we have now that citizens can picnic on or have small children and pets play. The ball fields and the tennis courts and the boat launch and all of Tubbs Hill is perfect as it is…AND it’s paid for. Why all the over the top stuff to mess with the simplicity of what we now have?
    All the extra people will have a detrimental affect on the park and especially to Tubbs Hill. I’m hoping Tubbs Hill will forever be off limits for any politician or group to reinvent or change in any way.
    Do we really need two waterfalls in out park…when we have a beautiful lake right there?? And who’s bright idea was the bocce and pickle ball courts? This committee couldn’t be farther out of touch with the citizens if it tried.
    Q: how can the LCDC use their funding when this is certainly not an area of urban blight??

  • RadRevD posted at 4:41 pm on Tue, Jan 18, 2011.

    RadRevD Posts: 3333

    Ziggy...If you are talking about Mark Hinshaw of LMN-Seattle, Hinshaw suggested adding 1500 new dwelling units in the Downtown Core. I doubt even 50 have been added since 2004 and his downtown building regs.

  • gcfb1414 posted at 3:23 pm on Tue, Jan 18, 2011.

    gcfb1414 Posts: 81

    I will not substantiate this statement. If one wishes to understand the motives of the city council, interested parties, and the mayor concerning the McEuen field project then one only needs to know who owns what piece of property in the downtown area. McEuen field is only a first step in what will be a substantial development of downtown.

  • Ziggy posted at 2:30 pm on Tue, Jan 18, 2011.

    Ziggy Posts: 1285

    This is what happens when some slick haired jelly bean from out of town comes in and tells the people of a community how they should live, what they should do, etc. Why in the world would anyone from outside be allowed to dictate a plan for a city in N Idaho, much less out of state? How silly is that?

  • Spikey posted at 1:12 pm on Tue, Jan 18, 2011.

    Spikey Posts: 387

    How convenient! After the fact, the Empress Bloem says oops, all my fault. I just "assumed"....well, we all know what assuming translates to. I wouldn't believe this Mayor if she told me my name is Spikey. Yes this is a done deal in spite of overwhelming opinion against its implementation. And by funnneling it through LCDC, the mayor will be able to do an end run around state law. A law that was put in place in order to prohibit this kind of fraud on the public. What is wrong with the voters in this city?

  • WannaBe JD posted at 12:44 pm on Tue, Jan 18, 2011.

    WannaBe JD Posts: 110

    The City made an agreement with the Legion that if they did do something different with the baseball field they would replace it with a facility of equal or greater value. Now it sounds as if the Legion is being left on the wayside. Is this any way to treat our Vets Sandy? Have integrity and keep your commitments.

  • TWolf22 posted at 11:19 am on Tue, Jan 18, 2011.

    TWolf22 Posts: 63

    This is beginning to smell, like so many of the backroom good ole boy things that happen in this town. How much did they pay the architects, who were part of the group, who have the two high rises across from McEuen? HOW MUCH IS IT GOING TO COST? Are LCDC and Hagadone going to fund it?
    As is said below: Were any of those who are concerned about the Boat Launch or the Baseball Field seriously involved in the planning? This is just another project of those who want to make money off of the downtown area, primarily off of the tourists. Are you going to tell me that kids are going to ride their bikes from north CDA and Hayden to use this park regularly? I am sorry, but I just don't see much more use by locals, especially during the winter than in its present form.
    If the City Council had any integrity, they would put this plan to a public vote, because I thing that they know that this is about as popular as Obama Care.

  • Ziggy posted at 11:18 am on Tue, Jan 18, 2011.

    Ziggy Posts: 1285

    What was the committee made of? Developers, realtors, engineers, condo owners? What should have been there? Certainly the Legion, middle class boat owners and fishermen, regular cits. As to "not enough green space"---what is the city park? Looks pretty green to me.

  • chouli posted at 10:25 am on Tue, Jan 18, 2011.

    chouli Posts: 1294

    mayor blo em left many out of the about having several average citizens on the committee? and where is fish and game represented relating to the boat launch? she sure didn't foget to include all the corporate interests, did she?

  • ancientemplar posted at 8:38 am on Tue, Jan 18, 2011.

    ancientemplar Posts: 1283

    Accident my eye!

  • Dan Gookin posted at 7:50 am on Tue, Jan 18, 2011.

    Dan Gookin Posts: 752

    If the City were serious about having the American Legion involved, they would have had a representative on the committee from day one. But these are plans already laid, made long ago. It's good to see so many people finally waking up to the way City Hall operates.

  • dasher posted at 7:15 am on Tue, Jan 18, 2011.

    dasher Posts: 205

    Whether it was an accident to leave the legion out or not, this is proof that our city government isn't really taking care with the public views. I have supported the Mayor in most things before, but this "plan" is ridiculous. My vote counts, and this is one I won't forget at election time. We need a public vote on this thing. Period.

  • The Late Louis Nizer posted at 6:24 am on Tue, Jan 18, 2011.

    The Late Louis Nizer Posts: 188

    The photo with the story tells more than the story itself.

    Mr. Rhodes recognizes intentional deception when he hears it and sees the Mayor's lips moving.

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