Take two brings skeptics - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Take two brings skeptics

Citizens wear hats, wave signs protesting possible removal of Third Street launch

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Posted: Friday, February 4, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 11:11 am, Fri Nov 16, 2012.

COEUR d'ALENE - The encore presentation, in many ways, was a lot like the original.

One difference this time around: Some came with hats shaped like boats and some held signs in the crowd.

But after Team McEuen shared its vision of a redeveloped McEuen park with the public Thursday night at Woodland Middle School, opinions on the proposal varied, just as they had after the January presentation.

Some said the idea was beautiful, some said a little too over-the-top. Some wanted to see every proposal come to fruition, some worried about what that would cost.

Count Jesse Mays, 32, of Coeur d'Alene, as one who favors the concept.

"I want everyone to have something to do," said the Coeur d'Alene resident, who visits City Park 50 times for every one time he visits McEuen Field, a ratio he said would surly change should the plan go through. "My oldest is 10. This is a park everyone can enjoy. I can see myself taking my whole family down there and everyone would have something to do."

The follow up presentation came a month after the first one, which saw around 550 people attend. Team McEuen - the architectural and engineering team that crafted the plan with the help of a 21-person steering committee of stakeholders - shared the 24 proposed changes on the downtown park with around 300 more people in the middle school gym.

Team McEuen's goal is to transform the park into a destination place that offers the most uses for the most people all year round. Recognizing the uniqueness of the park with its gateway access to the water, downtown and Tubbs Hill, they crafted the drawing from a blank slate to capitalize on the valuable, scenic property.

The question of financing it, or where exactly to put replacement items that didn't make the plan like the Third Street boat launch and American Legion baseball field would come later.

That vision includes a waterfront promenade, stepped sea wall, a cove turned ice rink in the winter, giant water fountain, open green space and grand plaza to name a few.

Too much, for some.

"I don't believe it reflects at all what North Idaho is about," said Paige Woods, of Rathdrum, who visits the park around a dozen times a year. She would like to see the park developed some, and the boat launch kept in place.

"People who live here and come here on vacation are looking for maybe a slower pace, something that isn't too developed, something more casual," she said. "It's too much pavement and brick and development."

The plan is so grand, it's hard not to wonder about how much it would cost, others said.

Dan Garnett liked just about every part of the proposal. His favorite parts were the underground parking and opening up green space on the park so it's "more than just a baseball game."

He filled out his reaction survey with a lot of 'approval' marks on the itemized proposals, but said that would change if taxpayers were stuck with a big bill.

"I want to know the costs," he said. "That's one of the determining factors."

Sharon Hebert, of Coeur d'Alene, felt the same way.

The park there now is "sad looking," she said, and the proposal was "absolutely gorgeous."

But: "It's just way over the head of anything the city can afford," she said. "I just can't see it in today's economy."

City officials have said they won't ask taxpayers for money. They would likely use the city's urban renewal agency, Lake City Development Corp., for financial assistance. LCDC uses property tax monies collected inside its district, and the agency was formed with community support in 1997 to one day help fund McEuen Field's redevelopment.

"I think it's really helpful or people who come see the presentation in its entirety and ask questions and address any concerns they may have," said Doug Eastwood, parks director, who fielded one-on-one questions with people after the presentation. "Overall, (the feedback) sounded pretty good."

Some people wore boat-shaped hats in support of keeping the Third Street boat launch. Others wore buttons. A petition against taking out the boat launch was circulated to collect signatures to hand over to the City Council in the future. Before the meeting, several people held signs asking for a public vote on the plan's eventual fate at the front door, and held those signs in the crowd.

"When it comes to an issue like this, the people should have the right to a vote," said Amy Struckmeyer, holding one of those signs. "We'll be back next week."

Next week is another public meeting on the proposal. It will be at 6 p.m. Thursday at Woodland Middle School, and public testimony will be sought.

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13 comments:

  • Ziggy posted at 8:46 am on Sat, Feb 5, 2011.

    Ziggy Posts: 1121

    the upkeep of the park is not the only concern. The water table and other construction concerns abound when considering an underground parking garage. And...parking garages are very scary places. The city will need security on all floors. Maintenance is also a factor for the garage, not to mention the park. Water fountains by a lake are stupid, waste water and energy. Yes, there are lots of parks. In fact, a block or so away is the city park.
    Hopefully the Legislature will put the brakes on LCDC. Either that or the voters will change out the council, which would be a better move.

     
  • hometownboy posted at 1:36 am on Sat, Feb 5, 2011.

    hometownboy Posts: 2

    CDA you are wasting ur time vote your council out take charge of your city that was the biggest waste of time re-meeting answer the questions team Mcruin 20mil bet on it .It dont matter what coments are wasted on this sight make a plan vote ur scared waste of talent council out Mayor Bloem ur are scandalist show your face as well as the rest of you answer the questions. Quit hiding behind the facts that the city of CDA will have to pay move on to a better topic how about riverstone fill that up create some jobs then move on to something else you make me sick.

     
  • Randy Myers posted at 11:28 pm on Fri, Feb 4, 2011.

    Randy Myers Posts: 1635

    The message is getting out there that cost IS a concern and that the launch isn't going away without a fight.

     
  • efromm posted at 9:42 pm on Fri, Feb 4, 2011.

    efromm Posts: 659

    At first they will take tax money by way of property taxes. Except they say they are not asking the public for anything? But they have the money now. The rub is what will they do in the future to pay for the lawn mowing and other upkeep. I propose that they charge a $10 fee to enter the park for the day. And if locals don't want to use it don't pay for it. I never hear anyone talking about the really nice playground in the city park. It's not like we don't have parks in this town. We have a bunch. This is like having a very specific touristy park. Dwayne should cough up some cash or maybe the city should just sell tubbs hill and the park to him and then he can deal with the maintenance costs too. And charge a fee for the improvements to the visitors who will use it.

     
  • Ziggy posted at 11:44 am on Fri, Feb 4, 2011.

    Ziggy Posts: 1121

    LCDC money IS TAX money that won't go to schools, etc. That is why everyone will be voting on a huge tax increase for schools. The LCDC gets their $ off the top. The news story should have mentioned where the LCDC gets their $.
    Yes, why afraid of a vote? Either a vote, a recall, or a total change at city hall. One of these will occur.

     
  • bkemdanno posted at 9:16 am on Fri, Feb 4, 2011.

    bkemdanno Posts: 259

    The question of financing it, or where exactly to put replacement items that didn't make the plan like the Third Street boat launch and American Legion baseball field would come later.

    now that is cart before the horse mentality --in all its glory. the cda/bloem/eastwood way.

     
  • 5inPfs posted at 8:31 am on Fri, Feb 4, 2011.

    5inPfs Posts: 666

    "City officials have said they won't ask taxpayers for money."

    This statement is disingenuous. They won't ASK because they have ALREADY collected through LCDC--whose funding comes from...property taxes.

    "They would likely use the city's urban renewal agency, Lake City Development Corp., for financial assistance. LCDC USES PROPERTY TAX MONIES COLLECTED inside its district, and the agency was formed with community support in 1997 to one day help fund McEuen Field's redevelopment."

    (emphasis mine)

    Can we please cut the sophism and get a straight answer?

     
  • DeNiles posted at 8:01 am on Fri, Feb 4, 2011.

    DeNiles Posts: 2450

    On-line polls conducted by both the Press and the Spokesman-Review overwhelmingly support a public vote on this issue. That pretty much says it all. Any local politician not supporting the vote will feel the voters wrath at the next election. The people have spoken and even these overtly pro-development biased polls show that this issue should go to the ballot box.

     
  • concernedcit posted at 7:25 am on Fri, Feb 4, 2011.

    concernedcit Posts: 4

    A public vote will determine how people really feel about the park issue. What is the city council afraid of?? I agree with the comment from TakeBackTheUSA regarding the funding issue -- we, taxpayers, will pay!

     
  • The Late Louis Nizer posted at 7:17 am on Fri, Feb 4, 2011.

    The Late Louis Nizer Posts: 188

    This "newspaper" has also failed to report the $6.7 million dollars North idaho College gave to its Foundation -- as rent on the mill site property the College already owned as of December 3, 2010. That came out in the NIC lawsuit hearing on Wednesday, and this "newspaper" knew about it back in January but didn't report it. idabilly has it right -- the reporters may want to be real journalists and write complete and accurate stories, but the publisher and editor are only interested in their next paycheck. The difference between Hagadone and Cowles is in the spelling of their names and their residencies, not their lack of commitment to honest and complete news. This community has no idea how much money has been carelessly lost, intentionally stolen, or otherwise misappropriated by public officials in Coeur d'Alene and Kootenai County. Thank the Corrupt d'Alene Press and The Spokesman-Review.

     
  • idabilly posted at 6:54 am on Fri, Feb 4, 2011.

    idabilly Posts: 390

    straight up, have you had your head under a rock? This paper is nothing more than a tool for the Good ol' Boys network here in town. AND when one of the CDA Mess reporters doesn't tow the company line or even worse, tells the truth about one of the Good ol' Boys they get fired the next day, right Rick Thomas? (Tho many would say Rick Thomas had it comming for several years)

     
  • straight up posted at 6:23 am on Fri, Feb 4, 2011.

    straight up Posts: 929

    Ohhh, talk about the paper soft-selling opposition to this monstrosity.

    "Some said the idea was beautiful, some said a little too over-the-top. Some wanted to see every proposal come to fruition, some worried about what that would cost."

    To read those words you'd think everyone is for the project but just have some minor concerns. There is no opposition. Those clothes on the Emperor are just fine and dandy. Uh, yup.

    I never wanted to believe that the owner of this paper would inject their views into the paper, but have now been convinced otherwise.

    The Press has truly joined the Cowles Family owned Spokesman Review as a mouthpiece for the owners.

     
  • TakeBackTheUSA posted at 4:51 am on Fri, Feb 4, 2011.

    TakeBackTheUSA Posts: 765

    How so totally disingenuous to say the city council won't ask taxpayers to fund this Cda Resort give away. What do you think LCDC uses for funding? The entire concept of tax increment funding is bogus. If our taxes are used for this they can't be used for things that are important.

     
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