The results are in.
And they are pretty.
A retaining wall, steps that amble down to the Spokane River and a beach are among features that people want to see along the former Atlas Mill site’s shoreline.
If there was one thing on the wish list of the more than 120 people who attended the March 22 public meeting to provide input on how the Atlas waterfront should be used, riprap — loose stone for a breakwater — was not among the desired outcomes, Coeur d’Alene city planner Hilary Anderson said.
A retaining wall, terraced steps leading to the water and the beach, allow more direct access to the river than other options, including filling the shoreline with riprap.
“They create more usable space by the water,” Anderson said.
Usable space is key.
The city of Coeur d’Alene, which is in the process of purchasing the 47-acre former mill site along the Spokane River south of Seltice Way, has set up a series of public meetings to gather input on how the public wants the $7.8 million property to be used.
At a February meeting, representatives from more than 45 groups including the Chamber of Commerce, the arts commission, Coeur d’Alene Tribe, school districts, booster clubs, homeowners organizations, the Lake City Senior Center and the Museum of North Idaho were asked for their ideas.
At the latest meeting, city residents like Chet Gaede chimed in.
Gaede, one of the Friends of the Spokane River Corridor, which has stumped for public access on the river, said so far things are aligning well to secure the Atlas Mill shoreline for the community.
“My goal has been to keep that shoreline public,” Gaede said, whose opinion piece on the topic was published last Saturday in The Press.
He isn’t too concerned about the details, as long as the big picture is preserved, he said.
“If we keep that shoreline public, good things will happen,” he said.
Gaede’s sentiment was in line with what most of the people who attended the March meeting considered the best use of the three-quarter mile of shoreline west of Riverstone.
Comments, which can be found on the city’s website under the “Atlas waterfront project” tab, included “Least commercial development,” “I love the non-motorized launch” and “Soft access” — referring to launches for non-motorized boats. “No Marina” and “66 percent public land,” as well as more in-depth comments like “Our population grows, but our access to the water seems to be shrinking …” were included.
The comments were gathered after people viewed three different renderings for things like the size of the public space, types of road networks, the shoreline based on the height of the riverbank and types of river bank stabilization.
Most people chose the middle ground, except when it came to the amount of public space they deemed should be dedicated at the site, Anderson said.
“A big part of the public input related to green space,” she said.
Roads, commercial and developed space were lower on the wish list.
“They wanted more public area, and less of those other things,” she said.
The next public meeting is 5 to 7 p.m. April 25 in the Coeur d’Alene Library Community Room.
The city plans to close on the purchase of the property next month.