COEUR d'ALENE - Hell isn't down, it's up.
And it's precisely 14 stories high.
That's the sentiment of residents in Coeur d'Alene North Condominium who filed suit Feb. 6 to prevent a 14-story highrise from going up and blocking their beautiful vista of Lake Coeur d'Alene.
"When we bought our condos, we felt certain we had a pact with God that our views of the lake would be protected forever and ever," said Foghorn Q. Jones, 97.
Now it seems Jones's prayer might be answered.
Coeur d'Alene city officials unveiled a plan so stunning in scope - and cost - that some might find it hard to believe today.
The plan calls for a 61-foot wide, 30-foot deep all-weather photograph of Lake Coeur d'Alene to descend from a helicopter, dangling directly in front of the newly constructed highrise so Coeur d'Alene North residents will always see the lake, and not the new building. The helicopter will operate 23/7, 365 days a year, landing for an hour at midnight to refuel and allow the pilot to use a restroom.
"It won't be cheap, but it has the potential to be pretty bitchin'," said Picasso Huffergass, a city maintenance employee and amateur artist whom the city council has appointed to head up the project.
Huffergass said the project will cost an initial $283 million for the life-sized, bird poop-resistant lake photo and a backup. Ongoing costs, he said, are estimated at $16.3 million a year for helicopter rental, fuel and snacks.
"But folks shouldn't get hung up on the costs," Huffergass said. "Our urban renewal agency, LCDC, will foot the bill and everybody knows that's not tax money."
Huffergass added that the city will also pull some cash from general funds for what it's termed "aerial art."
The city is not accepting complaints at this time. To register your support for the project, however, call Huffergass at