A look into the future

CDA 2030 Exploration Week starts Oct. 7

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COEUR d'ALENE - A diverse group of community leaders, activists and elected officials are gearing up for what they are calling "CDA 2030 Exploration Week."

The weeklong series of meetings is part of the Vision 2030 Coeur d'Alene project that has been slowly developing since the beginning of the year.

Organizers have compiled a list of 45 volunteers to form a community action committee, which will be the sounding board for the project.

In the end, they hope to have a clear vision of how the residents of the greater Coeur d'Alene area want to see the community grow.

"One of the reasons this was appealing to me is that this could be an opportunity to get beyond some of the divisiveness we have in the community today," said Coeur d'Alene City Attorney Mike Gridley, who represents the city on the committee.

The group that has been formed has representatives from businesses, community groups, government agencies and more. The plan, Gridley said, is to get as diverse of a group as possible.

"We've had meetings where (Mayor) Sandi Bloem was sitting at the table with Frank Orzell," he said. Orzell led a recall effort against the mayor and three other council members last year.

While that may have been a little uncomfortable, Gridley said it was civil and he hopes that civility will carry on throughout the project.

The project is not in the hands of any one entity. In fact, there are eight different sponsors who have put up the money to fund the $150,400 project. The group has hired Steven Ames Planning to facilitate the project, and University of Idaho is leading the research efforts, which are already underway.

Dr. Charles Buck, from the U of I, said they have been surveying the community in a variety of different ways to get an idea of what people want to see Coeur d'Alene look like in 2030.

They are compiling all of the data they have received and they plan to present that information at a public meeting on Oct. 8 in the Echo Bay Room of the North Idaho College Student Union Building. The meeting will run from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m.

The university designed a 75-question survey that will be given to 400 residents of Coeur d'Alene. They also have a mini-survey of five questions that can be accessed at their website. They also gathered input at the Kootenai County Fair, Art On The Green and even NIC's Really Big Raffle event.

"We also completed 30 face-to-face interviews with leaders in the community," he said, adding they will conduct an interactive electronic survey during the kickoff Exploration meeting on Oct. 7, at the Kroc Center from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

For the rest of week there will be three different opportunities for community input during workshops that will be held in different locations around Coeur d'Alene. (See related story).

Once the exploration week is over, Buck said there will be a vision team formed to take the input and develop a community vision statement.

"By November we should have a draft vision statement wrapped up and we plan to present that at a summit type event," he said. "After that we will have an action team develop an implementation plan."

The whole process including the action plan is expected to wrap up by June of 2014.

Gridley said he is hoping to get a good turnout for the upcoming events because that is what will make the project successful.

"There are a lot of people with resources and good ideas out there, but sometimes these people are standing alone," he said. "We want to bring these people together so we can pull them together and share those resources."

While the vision could be used in the future to make decisions on things like infrastructure and land use, it is not a comprehensive plan.

"This is not about land use," he said. "It's much broader than that."

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