Council approves concept to fund Atlas improvements

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Courtesy rendering The Coeur d’Alene City Council approved a plan to expand the existing Lake and River districts and create the Atlas District.

A plan to expand two existing urban renewal districts to encompass parts of the city’s recently purchased Atlas waterfront, and help pay for initial development, was approved by the Coeur d’Alene City Council.

Council members at Tuesday’s regular meeting gave their blessing to push ahead with the plan that also includes a new urban renewal district called the Atlas District.

The entire concept has to be further fleshed out before it is formally approved.

As it stands, the plan includes expanding the River and Lake districts, which sunset in 2027 and 2021 respectively, and starting on a blueprint for a new Atlas district.

The plan would allow money from an expanded Lake District to be used to extend a paved bicycle path, a gravel walkway and landscaping along the shore of the Spokane River at the former mill site between Mill River and Riverstone.

Building a parking lot surrounded by greenery and accessed via West Suzanne Road, from Riverstone Drive, would provide a jumping-off point for visitors to access the river property.

The city has already budgeted more than $1 million for riverbank stabilization.

Both the River and Lake districts border the Atlas property.

“We are regulated by state code on how much these districts can expand,” city administrator Troy Tymesen said.

The first development phase would also see the expansion of the River District into the west side of the Atlas property. It would include developing residential property sites along the property’s western perimeter, which will be connected to Seltice Way at the Atlas Road roundabout.

“The implementation plan is going to start more on the west side of this (Atlas) property, thus the importance of keeping it moving.”

The plan for an Atlas district will be considered by ignitecda, the city’s development corporation, before it’s turned over to Planning and Zoning and the City Council.

Council members were anxious to move ahead with expansion to fund ground breaking at the city’s 47-acre, $7.85 million purchase, which closed in May.

At least one council member thought the council had already given the green light to expand the districts, generate income and develop the ¾-mile shoreline for public access.

“Move forward,” council member Dan Gookin said. “We want to get this Atlas thing done. It’s a priority.”

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