A proposed annexation would nearly double the amount of commercial land inside Rathdrum city limits.
Helen Clark, Larry Clark and Warren Olson, plan to develop 27 acres into a retail center called Park Wood Plaza. The land is on the south side of state Highway 53, west of Meyer Road next to Lakeland High School.
The developers foresee retail and service businesses such as a motel, restaurants, a dry cleaner and a large grocery store - which Larry Clark says has expressed interest in the property.
“What’s neat about this site is that it’s very good for retail shopping,” he said, referring to the site’s proximity to three schools and the intersection of highways 41 and 53.
“We have traffic studies (from the Idaho Transportation Department) that show there’s about 15,000 cars entering that intersection (daily),” he said.
With Rathdrum’s population growing from 2,000 in 1990 to 3,409 in 1997, “now is the time to have the commercial growth,” he said. “This project is very exciting for the city of Rathdrum because it brings many people into the city to shop. Why send people to Post Falls or Coeur d’Alene when they could be shopping here?”
The city is applying for Gem Community status with the state of Idaho, which would help Rathdrum obtain grants to aid its economic development. Both city council members and city employees have expressed interest in expanding Rathdrum’s commercial and industrial tax base - which Park Wood Plaza would do.
Clark estimates the project should have cleared all the necessary regulatory hurdles by August. Site preparation should be done around September, and the project should take approximately seven years to be completely built, he said.
The Clarks and Olson, Helen Clark’s brother, will spend about $500,000 to develop the property, Larry Clark estimated.
Olson’s and Helen Clark’s father, Vernon L. Olson, bought the land in 1945. Olson and Clark grew up in the area and both graduated from Lakeland High School, Clark said.
“There isn’t any other large retail space available,” she said. “This will be the first major, concentrated area of retail and service.”
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: PUBLIC HEARING The Rathdrum Planning and Zoning Commission will have a public hearing on Park Wood Plaza on April 15 at 7 p.m. in City Hall.