Atlas purchase is nothing like McEuen

Print Article

Letís call it Neuecm Park.

Yep; thatís McEuen backward. With Coeur díAleneís commitment to purchase riverfront property and convert much of it to a park-like setting, we may be witnessing the makings of McEuen in reverse.

THEN: The community fractured over what to do with the hunk of land in downtown Coeur díAlene that had been largely underutilized for decades. The cityís answer was a park conversion that would cost about $20 million ó and bring along unprecedented public anxiety that peaked with an attempted recall drive of the mayor and council members in 2012.

NOW: The city has agreed to spend $7.85 million on 47 acres along the Spokane River just west of Riverstone that was once a mill site and is now considered a brownfield. Part of the property, which includes a half-mile of waterfront land, will be for public recreation. The rest will be resold, ostensibly for development.

Then we had a civic fight unlike any the community had seen for years, and possibly ever.

Now? Crickets, at least from any critics.

Maybe this is just too good a deal all the way around and, therefore, it enjoys unanimous support. The fact that not a single challenger is pursuing a seat on the City Council suggests rather strongly that the citizenry is satisfied these days, so perhaps buying the old Atlas mill site isnít an eyebrow raiser, let alone an earth shaker of McEuen magnitude.

Most certainly, though, there are many questions that need to be answered between now and the transaction closing date of next May 16. Key among them is, how is it going to be paid for?

The cityís urban renewal agency head and its finance director both have expressed general support but qualified it somewhat with concerns about slow paybacks and potential cash flow problems. Asking voters to approve a general obligation bond is one pressure-easing possibility ó for the city, but not the taxpayers.

Another key question is, how ready is the property for use and development? Indications are good that there are no pressing environmental concerns, but the cityís agreement to purchase the land included an ďas-isĒ provision. If, somehow, major remediation is needed, that will be the cityís ó read, the taxpayersí ó responsibility.

Fortunately, city leaders are promising plenty of public opportunities for community members to ask questions and share their opinions, particularly about how the property will eventually be divided. We look forward to that but wonít be terribly surprised if they hold open houses and public forums and only the crickets show up.

Print Article

Read More Editorial

Hey, cowboy: Long may you ride

December 09, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Thereís every reason to believe Brad Little will be an excellent governor when he takes office in less than a month. But thereís no question that Idahoís going to miss C.L. ďButchĒ Otter. Clement L...

Comments

Read More

Whatís enough, and what is too much

December 07, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Local taxpayers have shown unflinching support when school officials can justify additional spending through bond issues and levies. But even in these days of full employment and relative economic op...

Comments

Read More

One final, fantastic feat from 41

December 05, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Maybe a dead man can breathe life into a suffocating nation. Granted, this commentary is being fueled more by optimism than wisdom, but if expressions of hope, charity and goodwill have no place at ...

Comments

Read More

The upside of a lawsuit thatís a downer

December 02, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press On Nov. 6, 2018, a tidal wave of support for Proposition 2 rolled over the Gem State. With North Idaho feeling the love significantly less than other quarters, the final tally left no room for argum...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 664-8176
215 N. Second St
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83814

©2018 The Coeur d'Alene Press Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X