COEUR d'ALENE - The McEuen Field designers will begin creating the construction documents to send the downtown park project out to bid.
A divided Coeur d'Alene City Council agreed Tuesday to a $1.96 million architectural and engineering contract with the park's designers, Team McEuen, that should turn the conceptual plan on the 20-acre park into reality.
"You have to have vision and look out into the future to create great communities," said Mike Kennedy, councilman. "I think we should move forward with the project and get it going."
The contract was approved 4 votes to 3 votes, with Mayor Sandi Bloem casting the deciding vote in what's becoming a standard split on the council regarding McEuen Field since new councilmembers Dan Gookin and Steve Adams took their seats in January.
Gookin and Adams won their seats after largely campaigning against how the city handled the park's planning process. Both favored issuing a public advisory vote on the plan. But an advisory vote was denied by the council by the same 4 votes to 3 votes split.
"I haven't been sold on that yet," Gookin said on the community being the driving force in how the park would one day look in light of the November election results. "I don't see this as community driven."
But Kennedy and councilmember Deanna Goodlander pointed to the compromise that's taken place since the original conceptual plan was approved May 24.
The original plan cost around $28 million. The latest version for Phase 1 is expected to cost $14.2 million and leaves the boat launch intact, which was a point of contention in the community when the plan called for its removal. The updated plan also doesn't incorporate Second and Third street redesigns, but does keep the parking structure beneath Front Avenue.
"We gave you direction and said 'Come back with what we can do,'" Goodlander told Parks Director Doug Eastwood. "You've done a good job with that."
The contract retains the designers who have worked on the project since the beginning. Team McEuen was paid $125,000 for the original conceptual design, and $60,300 for site and topography studies on the park. The new contract gives them 300 days to get the construction documents ready to go out to bid. The documents would include providing grading and utility work that would put in the infrastructure footprint for future improvements there.
In February, Lake City Development Corp., the city's urban renewal agency, agreed to fund $11.5 million for the project. Before allocating that money, the agency said it wants to add contingencies to the agreement that would give the board say in exactly where their dollars would go.
LCDC Executive Director Tony Berns said Tuesday the agency was waiting to see if the contract was approved before moving ahead with setting the contingencies.