COEUR d’ALENE — It's a joyful scene — children trying samples of gourmet cotton candy, merchants selling interesting wares, neighbors getting to know each other in the beer garden, live music coming from a stage.
That was the setting Friday evening as the city of Coeur d'Alene's fourth annual PARK(ing) it on Sherman Avenue closed down the 1600 block of Sherman to give people an idea of what this area could look like in the future.
"For community, I think it's awesome," said Joni Brock, who sold decorative mosaic garden stones at her vendor booth. "Street fairs are the way to bring people together. People can linger, people can watch, they can shop, they can eat. It's just a wonderful way to bring people together."
Semi-permanent landscape curbing, diagonal parking, outside seating at Moontime and colorfully painted crosswalks were highlights of the event, introducing the community to the Activate East Sherman Pilot Project.
"In years past, we showed what it could look like. We had a makers district and showcased what it could look like if we added different details, but this year we've added more," said Hilary Anderson, community planning director for Coeur d'Alene. "People can really see what these changes would look like."
Doris Hoffman of Coeur d'Alene and her canine companion, Lucy, took advantage of the colorful doggie leis and glamour photos at the Coeur d'Alene Pet Resort station.
As a nearby downtown resident, Hoffman said she drives through that area all the time and had been waiting to see what possible changes would be implemented.
"I think it's a great way to improve our area," she said, referring to the new parking and curbing. "I think it's really good, we need more parking in this block with all the restaurants. It doesn't seem to impede traffic."
Community members are encouraged to share their feedback with the city and CDA 2030 as the East Sherman Master Plan is prepared. Visit www.eastsherman.org/participate from Monday through Oct. 28 to submit comments on the pilot project and thoughts on the future of East Sherman. Comment cards will be available at participating businesses on the block. Responses will provide necessary feedback for finalizing the master plan.
The project will be tested through the winter months, minus the outdoor seating, and into next spring and summer to better understand how the design functions and determine if people like or dislike this optional roadway design.