COEUR d'ALENE - The McEuen Field project is moving from conceptual to tangible.
The city of Coeur d'Alene is proposing to extend its contract with the McEuen Field design team, Team McEuen, so the architects and engineers can begin topography and traffic studies to ensure the downtown park's conceptual drawing can be turned into a reality.
"It's starting on the science end," said Dick Stauffer, Miller-Stauffer Architects and Team McEuen designer. "Up until now we've been doing the art end of it. Now we need some science."
The contract would be for $60,300. It would survey the landscape of the park for structure, drainage and other improvements, while the traffic analysis would study traffic movement on downtown streets, including parts of Fourth Street and Front Avenue that could close to cars as part of the plan.
It will also study the traffic movement away from the park to determine impacts on other arterials, including during special events, said Doug Eastwood, parks director.
The city's Public Works Committee recommended Monday the City Council approve the contract extension during its Aug. 2 meeting. Team McEuen designed the conceptual plan for $125,000. It's the first proposed extension on the contract.
Meanwhile, the city still hopes to break ground for the project in spring 2012.
Still undecided is exactly what, and how expensive, that first phase will be.
Lake City Development Corp., the city's urban renewal board, has said it would be willing to assist in funding, but the city hasn't made a formal request.
Stauffer said he wouldn't expect anything out of the ordinary to be revealed during the studies that would change the conceptual design dramatically.
"I don't think the suggestions would have been made in the first place if the science was going to shoot them down," he said.
After the topography and traffic studies are completed, the design team could be ready to draw up the park's blueprint. The city would likely extend Team McEuen's contract as that part of the project comes forward, Eastwood said.