Posts tagged: LCDC
If you take the candidates at their word, there's no chance Coeur d'Alene's urban renewal agency is headed for the guillotine. That doesn't mean a close shave isn't in store. As they march down the campaign trail, including a televised forum last week, all but one of the candidates for Coeur d'Alene council and mayor say Lake City Development Corp. needs to sharpen its focus on economic development, with creation of good jobs at the head of the to-do list. While economic development has always been part of LCDC's mission, it hasn't taken center stage. In all likelihood, it will now/Coeur d'Alene Press Editorial Board. More here.
Question: I don't quite understand what people mean when they say “good jobs.” Can you attract good jobs to a tourism center like Coeur d'Alene. The timber jobs are gone. You're not going to create a bunch of manufacturing jobs in town. So what types of “good jobs” do you think Coeur d'Alene/Kootenai County can attract?
The Lake City Development Corporation’s board of commissioners this week welcomed its newest member to the nine-member panel. Mic Armon, a certified financial advisor who served as a North Idaho College trustee for 12 years, was appointed to the volunteer board during the LCDC’s regular monthly meeting on Wednesday. “I’ve always dedicated myself to community service and believe the LCDC has tremendous potential to continue the great impact it is having in Coeur d’Alene,” Armon said. “I look forward to contributing to all the great things the LCDC does.” Armon was appointed to fulfill an existing 5-year commissioner term. He replaces Jim Elder, who served until his untimely death from cancer earlier this year/Keith Erickson, LCDC.
Question: I think Mic's appointment to the LCDC board is a good one. How about you?
Item: Big projects rule 2014 LCDC budget/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press
More Info: Lake City Development Corp's fiscal year 2014 budget proposes to keep paying for big projects under way, like McEuen Park, sets placeholders for stalled ones, like Midtown, and keeps an eye on future endeavors by setting aside cash for potential ones. The latter example would be rebuilding the Four Corners area in downtown Coeur d'Alene, for which LCDC is setting aside at least $800,000. LCDC is also penciling in $103,000 for planning a potential event center in Riverstone - a proposal for which the urban renewal agency has already pledged $10 million. In all, the fiscal year 2014 calls for LCDC to spend $12.2 million while bringing in $13 million in revenue. LCDC is planning on beginning the fiscal year, Sept. 1, with $3.7 million in hand.
Question: Which potential LCDC-supported project do you favor most?
DTS (re: LCDC spurs East Seltice Way surge): No, I do not think it would have grown as fast. If you look at the area now with all of it's revitalization, you can see what a progressive town looks like. You want to see what a Gookin/Adams/Souza town will look like? Please take an afternoon and drive over to Kellogg Idaho. That will give you a hint. Is LCDC the giant evil Gookin and co. think it is. NO. Should it ALWAYS be under tight reins… YES. That being said, it is time to ignore the heel dragging, pouting KCRR's and go forward making Coeur d'Alene a growing, prospering jewel of the north west, and not just a sociopathic neo-conservative run Ecoslum that is the goal of the conspiracy mob surrounding the “so called” conservatives that now OWN the local Republican Party.
Question: What will Coeur d'Alene look like if Mary Souza and allies take over the City Council?
Years ago, a tract of property along the old section of Interstate 90 just west of Coeur d’Alene lay mostly dormant. Not much could be done with the sleepy stretch of land because there were no utilities. No water. No sewer. The land valuation along the Seltice Way corridor situated between the existing freeway and Spokane River was about $3 million. Fast forward. Today, the 115-acre area, which is now within the city of Coeur d’Alene, is thriving with commercial and residential development. A call center that employs 500 people. A public ice skating rink. Affordable senior housing. Riverfront homes. Condominiums. And perhaps most importantly, a park that provides direct access to the river/LCDC News & Review. More here.
Question: Do you really think East Seltice Way would have developed organically without help from Lake City Development Corp?
The LCDC board of directors on Wednesday voted unanimously to grant preliminary/conditional approval of North Idaho College’s request for $10 million in funding for and Event Center at Riverstone. Final approval is contingent on several factors, a formal funding request from the college. NIC president Joe Dunlap told the LCDC board a formal request will be made by the end of the year. A key factor in approval of the funding is the college’s commitment to raise $5 million for the project//Keith Erickson, LCDC. More here.
Question: Anyone out there besides Councilman Dan Gookin and mayor candidate Mary Souza have problems with LCDC kicking in $10M for a much-wanted/needed events center?
Executive Tony Berns of LCDC responds to comments made by Councilman Dan Gookin earlier this month:
At the City’s June 6, 2013, strategic planning session, Councilman Gookin shared that a key strategy of his to address the City’s budgeting challenges would be to terminate the LCDC, thus resulting in more revenue to the City (link to his comments: http://youtu.be/h-oOmNDmq0). As you know Wendy, LCDC has two redevelopment districts; the Lake District which sunsets in 2021, and the River District which sunsets in 2027. Councilman Gookin shared that via his analysis, it would take about 3 years to “unwind the debt” of the LCDC, which he shared would then result in an additional $3 million/year of revenue for the City. There will not be $3 million in revenue per year to the City of CDA in three years by terminating the LCDC in 2014. The City will not experience a windfall of new revenue if the LCDC is terminated. Here is why: More here.
Question: Would it be foolish/wise to terminate LCDC in 2014?
Spokesman Keith Erickson of Lake City Development Corp. provides this report from recent LCDC board meeting:
So … what will the Coeur d’Alene area look like 20 years down the road—and what efforts can be made to ensure it remains a vibrant community? That’s what Visioning 2030 is all about. Officials are seeking financial assistance from the LCDC to help fund a study to plan for the community’s future. Advocates of the plan are seeking $15,000 in funding from the LCDC to shoulder the costs of a consultant to devise a plan. The process will weigh strongly on community participation, support and input, city attorney and project advocate Mike Gridley told the board. “What we want to determine is, ‘what do we need to do today to get long-term goals in place to make the community as healthy as it can be in the future’” Gridley said. He emphasized that this study would not be a “dust-gathering” report away , but a working document to help community leaders shape future growth in a structured and beneficial way. “The plan is to establish goals, assign tasks and make it happen. Ultimately, there will be assigned responsibilities that will be followed up on. This will provide a road map to follow future growth that benefits the whole community,” Gridley told the board.
Question: Is this a project that should get LCDC money?
The Lake City Development Corporation has produced a 7-minute video to explain the mission of local urban renewal efforts. It explains the video here: “We've seen the successes. The Kroc Center. Riverstone development. Higher Education Campus. New downtown library. The city’s urban renewal agency, the Lake City Development Corporation (LCDC), played an integral role in all of these projects. But where did the money come from to help support these progressive community endeavors? Take a few minutes and we'll help you understand.” More here.
Item: LCDC: $10 million is possible: Agency could secure funds to help build NIC event center/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press
More Info: Lake City Development Corp. has $10 million to help build an event center in Riverstone. Before the urban renewal agency decides whether it wants to pay for the bulk of the project North Idaho College is pitching, more market, feasibility and financing numbers have to be studied thoroughly. Until then, LCDC is interested in helping land the multi-use sports complex near the intersection of Northwest Boulevard and Interstate 90, it said Wednesday, and it could secure the funds to do it.
Question: Both NIC Trustee Ron Nilson and Councilman Dan Gookin support construction of an event center at Riverstone. However, Gookin said during a joint meeting of the council and LCDC board that he didn't support using urban renewal money to build the center. Should he (if it's the only way the center can be built)?
JohnA (re: Idaho Freedom Foundation opposes Shoshone County urban renewal agency): Well, I guess it is time that I opined on this issue, since I am under contract with Shoshone County to help them create an urban renewal agency. The fact is that the county commissioners have a chance with their private partners in the Big Creek area, Sunshine and Crescent Mines and Essential Metals silver refinery, to rebuild Big Creek Road from I-90 to the Sunshine and thereby fix the deficiencies in the road. The net gain is over 300 high paying jobs, which makes this the exact purpose of urban renewal in the first place. After intrusions from those who don't live in the county, in particular Kathy Sims from CDA, we tried to give the correct facts last night in Kellogg. Then, we heard from Sharon Culbreth and our own Dan Gookin, both of whom said it was a bad idea to help the county to create 300 mining jobs at Sunshine. Now, no one in the crowd was a rich realtor or best selling author, but they clearly knew from the onset that the Silver Valley needs these jobs to grow their economy and some clearly resented this intrusion from the west. More below.
Question: Should anti-urban renewal types from Kootenai County stick their noses into the debate re: an urban renewal agency proposal in Shoshone County?
At the LCDC strategic planning session, Mayor Sandi Bloem said good growth doesn't happen simply “organically” and called for formation of an East Sherman Avenue urban renewal district:
Mayor Sandi Bloem applauded the agency's efforts in stimulating the economy and underscored that many of the major economic development projects in the Coeur d'Alene area would not have been possible without partnership from the LCDC. The mayor discounted recent public comments that growth should to occur “organically,” without urban renewal or any public assistance. “So many great projects have occurred in Coeur d'Alene with help from the LCDC … that otherwise would not have happened,” Bloem said. Some level of growth would occur without LCDC funding, the mayor said, but not at nearly the rate the LCDC has created through its partnership initiatives. Regarding the LCDC's future, the mayor, who recently announced she would not seek a fourth term in November, said the agency must move forward and resist political opposition. “You must continue to share your message with the community on the great things the agency has accomplished,” she said. The mayor also said she supported creation of a new urban renewal district to enhance East Sherman Avenue, calling it the “perfect area” for urban renewal financing/Keith Erickson, LCDC. Full report here.
Question: Should an urban renewal district be created for East Sherman Avenue?
Spokesman Keith Erickson provides this information from the 2013 Lake City Development Corp. planning session:
Steve Griffitts (pictured in ZoomInfo photo), president of Jobs Plus, told the board that the LCDC has provided an immeasurable impact on the job market over the past 15 years. “Your involvement with Jobs Plus has helped to contribute 6,000 jobs in this area since 1997,” Griffitts told the board. “There is such a great level of momentum generated by the LCDC.” Griffitts added that urban renewal is the best means the state of Idaho has to attract jobs in a competitive national market. Public works improvements funded by the LCDC have supported and sustained that growth, he added. “We've attracted companies here and kept them here because of your involvement with creating necessary infrastructure,” he said. Listing two examples, Griffitts said the LCDC helped bring in 500 jobs via the U.S. Bank call center on Seltice Way within the agency's River District, and 700 employees at Riverstone, which is thriving. “That area (Riverstone) has created so many jobs and included a tax base increase of more than $100 million,” Griffitts said. Full report here.
Question: Are you still skeptical re: job-creation impact of LCDC?
As you may have noticed, Lake City Development Corp. is using an advertising tile (upper lefthand corner) on Huckleberries Online again this year. LCDC likes the traffic that it gets on this site. The urban renewal agency board also discussed buying an ad tile on the Coeur d'Alene Press Online site. But there's a snag, according to the minutes of the LCDC board meeting last week: “The CdA Press blog site contains a unique user demographic that seems more antagonistic to CDA community improvement endeavors.” LCDC will continue to evaluate communication venues such as the Press Online and mebbe the Nickel's Worth to get its message out. You can read the minutes from the April 17 meeting here.
Question: Is LCDC doing a better job at getting out its message of community improvement?
The latest newsletter of the Lake City Development Corp. includes an update on the $20M McEuen Field expansion, a tribute to the late Jim Elder, preliminary thoughts re: reconstruction of the Four Corners (NW Blvd/Garden Avenue) area; and a profile of board Chairman Dave Patzer. The newsletter reports the new McEuen Field parking structure should be ready by Nov. 19:
Hundreds of cubic tons of dirt are currently being excavated from the northwest edge of McEuen Park to make way for the new parking structure, which will increase parking spaces at the parking area from 595 to 702. Team McEuen spokesman Phil Boyd, an engineer with Welch-Comer Engineers, said the parking structure is expected to be open by November 19. Meantime, the contractor, the city, and engineers are working closely to inform the public on street closures, brief utility interruptions, and other construction-related issues that may impact the public. You can read the rest of the story & the latest newsletter here. (Duane Rasmussen photo of McEuen Field reconstruction)
In her latest newsletter Mary Souza explains the LCDC to her readers.
It’s been a long time since we talked about LCDC, and I know you’ll be thrilled to hear what they’re doing with your property tax dollars. Our County Clerk, Cliff Hayes, just released the yearly report of Urban Renewal money, so let’s look at LCDC’s portion:
More than $540,000 dollars in property tax that would normally have gone to NIC, went to LCDC instead. And if you include all the urban renewal districts in Kootenai County, the total diverted away from NIC was almost $1million. My, my, I bet the college would like to have that income right now. Oh, wait, they do get their whole income because you and I and every other taxpayer in the County pay more on our NIC taxes to help make up for the million that goes to urban renewal. Read more.
Mary contends NIC got ripped off by LCDC. Kinda. Agree or disagree?
Coeur d'Alene TV Channel 19 provides an interesting video 4:45 minutes in length in which LCDC executive director Tony Berns and anti-LCDC Coeur d'Alene Councilman Dan Gookin discuss urban renewal philosophies. To Gookin's credit, he admitted that he supported urban renewal money for infrastructure at Riverstone and the Education Corridor — and that LCDC had been “more focused” on correct things in recent years. Toward the end of the video, Gookin is challenged by Councilman Mike Kennedy after he uses the term “crony capitalism” to describe some of LCDC dispersals. Gookin stands pat, stating: “Giving public money to people who already have a ton of money is crony capitalism.” Enjoy:
In a delightful give-and-take, Lake City Development Corporation board member Dave Patzer rebuffs Councilman Dan Gookin, who'd asked about future troubles the urban renewal agency might face. (Video provided by Coeur d'Alene TV Channel 19, per request of Huckleberries Online)
It’s the core of Coeur d’Alene, and city officials are trying to figure out what to do with it. The so-called “4 corners” area is where Northwest Boulevard runs into Sherman Avenue downtown at the intersection of Government Way and Mullan Avenue. Crews tore down a warehouse in the area last year, paving the way for new development. Now … what to do? During a joint meeting between the LCDC and City Council on Thursday, officials discussed options ranging from leaving it as green space, to developing townhouses, or dormitory housing for nearby college students. The field is wide open, officials agreed, and will involve input from the city, urban renewal agency, North Idaho College, the county and Fort Grounds residents.
What would you like to see done with the 4 corners area?
From Lake City Development Corporation board meeting minutes from Wednesday:
Also during its regular monthly board meeting, Coeur d’Alene Downtown Association Manager Terry Cooper reported that a parking plan is in place to alleviate inconveniences imposed by the McEuen Park upgrade project. A free shuttle bus service from the Memorial Field area to the downtown is under evaluation, and other downtown lots managed by Diamond Parking will be open for public parking to accommodate for lost parking during construction. Cooper said notices will be provided to downtown business owners and visitors.
Question: Can anyone imagine the downtown parking mess we're going to have this summer?