These are the kind of neighbors everyone should want.
Dozens of homeowners are urging Kootenai County commissioners to spare the rod hovering over an unofficial landmark at 627 Government Way in Coeur d’Alene. It’s a house that’s almost 110 years old, outlasting generations in this tightly knit neighborhood. For many, the county’s intent to raze the home is akin to a death sentence passed on a close friend.
As much as neighbors’ desire to preserve the house is fueled by kind and caring intent, their wish is not likely to be granted. Two years ago, Kootenai County purchased the home with plans to use that space for expansion. Just as the county’s population is among the fastest growing in the nation, so is the need for more room for county employees to serve residents. That location happens to be a very logical spot to expand government services.
Give county officials extra credit, too. They’ve tried to unload the house to anyone willing to purchase and move it. Nobody has and there’s no indication a millionaire savior is waiting in the wings. Part of the problem is that the home reportedly isn’t in pristine condition. If it were a true gem, surely someone would delight in finding the house a new home.
Nor is it technically a historic place. Protections that might otherwise be extended won’t apply. Bottom line: The executioner of unwanted abodes appears to be sharpening his ax.
While it’s something of an avocation to criticize government overreach or insensitivity, the consensus here is that Kootenai County officials are justified in destroying the home at 627 Government Way, if no other reasonable and responsible alternative is discovered. With all due respect to neighbors who will hate to see the old place go, a government facility that’s open only weekday hours is likely to create far fewer problems than any number of other options for the property.
Not to be forgotten is that government is responsible to all its citizens. In Kootenai County’s case, the passion exhibited by neighbors doesn’t outweigh the reality of doing what’s best for more than 150,000 people.
Wrecking the house and killing its trees is no cause for celebration. It is just one more line item on the lengthening list of payment due for all this growth.