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Razed house raises questions about neighborhood’s future

Tue., March 20, 2007

My wife and I enjoy spring and fall walks along Lake Coeur d’Alene on the dike road that rims two sides of Coeur d’Alene’s Fort Grounds area. Sometimes, we meander through historic Fort Grounds, commenting on the yards and who lives where. Inevitably, we discuss what might have been. Some 21 years ago, we briefly considered buying a three-story blue house at the corner of West Garden Avenue and Military Drive. At the time, we decided against the purchase because we didn’t want to endure the summer traffic, the North Idaho College parking problems and the inevitable rowdy parties from the student housing nearby. I’m told former North Idaho college theater director Tim Rarick bought the place. At the time, it was selling for about $70,000. I saw a flier on a for-sale sign in front of the house last fall advertising it for five or six times that much. Beyond the rapid appreciation of the property, I’ve thought that it would have been grand to live at that location, near the lake, the college, and The Spokesman-Review building that was constructed a coupla blocks away on Northwest Boulevard. I mentioned the house to my wife for the umpteenth time, as we walked north on Military Drive Sunday – only to discover that the building and garage were gone. Only the lot was left. Obviously, some Warbucks wannabe had purchased the property, scraped the buildings and plans to build a monster house, like the owner of the McMansion across Military Drive did. ‘Tis a sign of things to come for the historic neighborhood. Not necessarily better things.

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