LCDC pays up - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

LCDC pays up

Group agrees to pay $3.4 million more for McEuen park

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Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - Lake City Development Corp., the city's urban renewal agency, agreed Wednesday to pay $3.4 million more for the McEuen Park reconstruction project.

The pledge fulfills most of the city's $4.2 million request, and brings LCDC's total contribution to $15.6 million for the downtown park project.

It also leaves LCDC extra money - around $900,000 - from the $16.75 million line of credit it secured from Washington Trust Bank for future projects inside the Lake District, the urban renewal boundary in which McEuen Park sits.

"We need to have money set aside for other things we want to do," said Rod Colwell, LCDC member and finance chair. "It's really a question of, 'where do we want to spend our money?'"

The $3.4 million will pay for a bulk of the amenities the city put back in the park plan after park designers realized in the fall that too many components from the conceptual design were being scaled back trying to draw the park to a then-$14.2 million budget.

Now a bigger splash pad, grand plaza, playground, waterfront promenade and increased pathways will be afforded back into the plan. So will the Harbor House information center and restroom facility, tennis and basketball courts and an expanded veteran memorial, lighting and utility options and main pavilion.

What it leaves off are the add-alternate components.

Those are roughly $800,000 in additional amenities that can be bid out separately, and include colored concrete at Front Avenue intersections, an entry arch and enhanced features on the promenade and main pavilion, such as additional wings and a fireplace.

By leaving those off, it not only saves the agency money for future use, but it doesn't detract from the park project enough to hinder the overall design, the board said.

"These things don't keep it from being a world-class project," said Brad Jordan, LCDC member.

Despite the full request not being funded, city officials said the decision was a major step for the project more than two years in the making.

"It's very good news," said Mayor Sandi Bloem. "They made a great fiscal decision based on their budget, at the same time we can build a park that was shown in the original drawings."

Before the project can go out to bid, the city must identify where it can save around $285,000 on the Front Avenue portion of the project. That's because the City Council on Tuesday decided to reduce the Local Improvement District amount to $300 a front foot for affected property owners.

Park designers will meet today to identify what can be scaled back there. The project is still set to go out to bid at the end of the month, officials said. It could be completed by November.

But LCDC's pledge also means that if bids come in lower than expected, the city can use the difference to fund the add-alternate components.

A major reason the agency wanted to keep money in reserve is because other downtown projects could be in store. The area known as the Four Corners near City Park, another parking structure downtown, and the city's plan to create a green space on the former railroad line through the education corridor to Riverstone are all topics that have come up before and could come up again soon.

But LCDC and City Council member Deanna Goodlander urged the agency to pledge the full amount. The agency could afford it, she said, and the dynamic of the City Council could change with elections coming up in November. The McEuen Park project has divided the council four votes to three all year, and if one or more of those votes turns because of the election, it could shape the future of LCDC as well.

A City Council that doesn't favor urban renewal, which some of the current council doesn't, could vote to disband the current board, and take over. LCDC was formed in 1997 in large part to revitalize downtown, with McEuen Park being a primary reason.

"I feel we have an opportunity to do a legacy project," she said. "And this may be our only opportunity."

With the added amenities, the high end estimate on the park project approaches $17 million. But the total proposed estimated cost of the project including money that has already been spent on it, such as work already completed and architect and engineering fees and contracts, would be around $20 million.

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  • LTRLTR posted at 8:41 am on Sat, Jan 19, 2013.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    I remember those earlier days too when honesty was important and working for the best interests of the entire community was priority.

  • concernedcitizen posted at 8:02 am on Sat, Jan 19, 2013.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530


    It is not so much the progress as it is the process in which they used to GET this progress

    I too remember a time when those in the community that "HAD" invested in their community instead of manipulating law to profit at taxpayer expense.

  • Veeeee posted at 7:34 pm on Fri, Jan 18, 2013.

    Veeeee Posts: 423

    My family first arrived in CDA in 1915. I have great memories of the "old" Coeur d'Alene. However, I prefer the present CDA. I played ball in McEuen field when I was a kid...sat on the hill and watched the fireworks before the resort was built, ate breakfast in Templin's restaurant. My Grandfather's sheetmetal shop was located where the new CDA Visitor's Center is currently located. I checked books out of the library when it was on Lakeside Ave. I remember the hydro races and the nice little cabins on the hill where the Sherman condos are...and of course Playland Pier... But McEuen field was never, ever used by many people. It was a nice wide open space, but only used for a ball games. I frequent downtown all the time and the park is a meditation zone...nothing wrong with that, but I haven't noticed many people meditating lately :-0 The improvements to the park will be great. I can't wait to bring my family down there to enjoy the new amenities. Good luck stopping the progress. I mean, who would have ever believed we would have sky scrapers in downtown CDA when I was a kid? Off we go!

  • LTRLTR posted at 11:12 am on Fri, Jan 18, 2013.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    CC: I agree with the first part of your below comment except the part of driving out the undesireables.

    The Mayor, long time downtown business stakeholder, and a few others have set their sights on increased property values for their personal estates and more dollars to support the downtown businesses. It's all about MONEY! Certainly not community interests.

  • concernedcitizen posted at 9:24 am on Fri, Jan 18, 2013.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530


    The current leaders are above the blue collar riff raff that plagued this town. High rises will result in higher taxes to broaden the tax base to give to their wealthy developer friends while driving out the undesirables and increasing their property values. Its a win win for them.

    The uncultured, low life, blue collar don't fit that plan.

  • aayupp posted at 9:01 am on Fri, Jan 18, 2013.

    aayupp Posts: 319

    LCDC was formed in 1997 in large part to revitalize downtown, with McEuen Park being a primary reason.

    personally - i liked the old downtown. what was wrong with it?? i liked the sawmill mainly -the smell of the freshly cut wood --beautiful charming distinctive feature. that was north idaho the way it should be. what do you have now???

  • IdahoJoey posted at 9:00 am on Fri, Jan 18, 2013.

    IdahoJoey Posts: 344

    And what will you say if, at the next election cycle, nothing really changes? Will you still question the will of the majority?

  • LTRLTR posted at 7:17 pm on Thu, Jan 17, 2013.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    I, too, want the Press do to stand up for the community and do a story on the promises broken by our Mayor and 4-Council. It is not acceptable to lie, intimidate, threaten or decieve our taxpayers.

  • bionic man posted at 7:06 pm on Thu, Jan 17, 2013.

    bionic man Posts: 347

    Anyone interested, read Idaho Ethics in Government published by the Office of the Attorney General. See what violations you can find that pertain to the " Fantastic 4 "

  • bionic man posted at 6:47 pm on Thu, Jan 17, 2013.

    bionic man Posts: 347

    If ya'll have the grits, do like I'm doing. Letters to the state attorney general, congressman, FBI, judge advocate, etc. The fabulous " 4 " have hung themselves by their current " publisized " actions. Be interesting to see who else is behind the scenes after the smoke clears. Remember, enough complaints and inquiries by the citizens will get something done. Be sure to keep track of your emails/messages. And by the way...the press will not follow up with the true story of the " Fantastic 4 " lies and deception.

  • arius1 posted at 3:54 pm on Thu, Jan 17, 2013.

    arius1 Posts: 966

    Anyone notice that we hardly see any letters to the editor in the print edition re our side of this issue. They'll allow it here, but not the general readership. I keep looking as they print the articles re McEuen, no dissent. Its as if the majority is going along with the farce that is happening, which I believe is not the case at all.
    Cant wait for next election cycle, so we can finally have our say. I'm not against a nicer looking park, its the manner in which they went about it and continue to do so. Ah, I guess they know better than me, I am just a peon, they are the all knowing, exalted ones.

  • chouli posted at 3:38 pm on Thu, Jan 17, 2013.

    chouli Posts: 1294

    When is the Press going to run a story on the misrepresentation the Mayor and her council of three who lied to the citizens about the McEuen Park makeover? Where’s that story?

    Do you remember when the Mayor, Eastwood and the council all told us that the cost is 14.2 million, period? There were no other phases, no other plans to increase the park design or costs. They “compromised”, remember? The $14.2 million was it. They put up fancy little signs to show us all that the McEuen remodel was set at 14.2 million. The recall just wasn’t necessary, now was it? Just in time.

    Remember when they tried to make anyone supporting the recall election or questioning the “compromised” cost of the makeover out to be conspiracy nuts who just don’t trust anything…and will never be happy no what they do? Hmmm…

    Well, what do you all have to say now that the Mayor and her team had a catharsis just recently that “too much had been taken out” and we need to put all the bling back in her “legacy” park…more, more, more…money, money, money. Turns out the Mayor and her team LIED to all of us. Some of us just saw this coming long ago. It was all part of their plan…and the citizens are powerless to stop it…just like they planned all along.

    So, I’m curious about all the folks who trusted and believed the mayor when she said only 14.2 million would be spent on the McEuen Park remodel…how’s that “decline to sign” working for you now?

  • voxpop posted at 3:02 pm on Thu, Jan 17, 2013.

    voxpop Posts: 738

    I'd like the Press to name one other local or state entity where individuals have unfettered access to tax payer funding who are not elected by those same taxpayers. There appears to be nothing to stop these same individuals from using these funds for anything - even a trip for all of them and their families to Cancun. Recall the idiom about absolute power corrupting absolutely. Recall also what happened recently in the city's finance dept when people have uncontrolled access to taxpayer funds.

  • LTRLTR posted at 3:00 pm on Thu, Jan 17, 2013.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    cdaterry1: "lcdc creates nor invents Anything....just another collection agency for public tax dollars...ALL lcdc does is redistribute tax dollars - that's all folks- it is not rocket science."

    LOL just another collection agency for taxpayer dollars. LOL Want to run for office?

  • Spikey posted at 1:31 pm on Thu, Jan 17, 2013.

    Spikey Posts: 387

    Well gee golly whizzer! This comes from left field, didn't see it coming at all.

    Who do they think they are kidding with the "think it over ploy"? This whole "legacy" disaster has been set in stone since the onset. They don't care what anybody thinks.

    You got that right Deanna, there will be changes come Nov. And you are correct about this debacle being a legacy. Just not the kind you mean. Final cost, upkeep, policing, repairing the vandalism and the undesirable element who will drive away your blessed tourists, this is your legacy. Thanks a heap lady. As Woody would say, just!

  • Mary Souza posted at 11:59 am on Thu, Jan 17, 2013.

    Mary Souza Posts: 814

    "We need to have money set aside for other things we want to do," said Rod Colwell, LCDC member and finance chair. "It's really a question of, 'where do we want to spend our money?'"

    Hey, Rod, it's not YOUR money. It's TAXPAYER money. Every dollar LCDC takes is from the public.

    And don't forget that the money LCDC's spending now for McEuen is BORROWED money from a bank--they are using future tax revenues as collateral. Interest on the outstanding balance will cost extra.

  • bionic man posted at 11:28 am on Thu, Jan 17, 2013.

    bionic man Posts: 347

    LCDC was created by the people elected to office to accomplish back-door financing of their pet projects. As typical with government, they always find a way to " shaft " the taxpayers while lining their pockets. It's a proven fact now that they mayor and her selected "3" lied to the people of CDA. All four of these people need to be held accountable both financially and legally. As with the press poll on Duncan, their outcome should be the same.

  • I Carry posted at 8:19 am on Thu, Jan 17, 2013.

    I Carry Posts: 559

    I seem to remember that Mr. Eastwood (when the park plan was in early stages) stated that no bids were required. Now the plan is going to go to bid?
    The part about the plans were scaled back to meet the $14million and now they are going to be upgraded to bring in some of the items they had to cut because of cost show me how the Council snakes around details.
    Truth in politics was shown by Goodlander when she stated the Council "could" change this election. Ya think?
    Some where along line, citizens of our town will realize they have been duped. Hopefully, that will happen just before election time, and the "gang of three-run by she" will have to gain other employment.

  • cdaterry1 posted at 8:03 am on Thu, Jan 17, 2013.

    cdaterry1 Posts: 56

    lcdc creates nor invents Anything....just another collection agency for public tax dollars...ALL lcdc does is redistribute tax dollars - that's all folks- it is not rocket science. of course they bill themselves as so important - and headed up by a guy who makes north of $120k and who is completely overpaid (there are plenty of qualified people who could do this job for $75k).

    It is a complete conflict of interest for goodlander to be on Both the city council and lcdc board

  • concernedcitizen posted at 7:39 am on Thu, Jan 17, 2013.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530


    Why don't you ever report the WHOLE story.

    LCDC money IS taxpayers "BORROWED" money.

    I have never seen leaders so ashamed of their blue collar heritage

  • ancientemplar posted at 7:21 am on Thu, Jan 17, 2013.

    ancientemplar Posts: 1287

    Was there ever any doubt? LCDC is the council's alter ego with Goodlander sitting on both boards.

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