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Mead church taking shape

Ken Baird, lower left, Steve Omans, operating lift, and Jeremy Eschliman, on lift, work on the new Mead United Methodist Church building at Farwell and Wilson roads. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Ken Baird, lower left, Steve Omans, operating lift, and Jeremy Eschliman, on lift, work on the new Mead United Methodist Church building at Farwell and Wilson roads. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Ousted by a freeway, church members are building a new home

After seeing their last church go up in smoke – by design – Mead United Methodist Church members are watching their next building become reality.

The $465,000 project is a post-frame church at the corner of Wilson and Farwell roads in Mead. It’s due to be ready for worship services this fall.

It will replace a temporary church nearby that the congregation has been using for more than three years.

The new church replaces the congregation’s previous church, near the intersection of Shady Slope and Farwell, that was in the path of the proposed north-south freeway. After the congregation sold it to the state Department of Transportation, the building was torched in a firefighting exercise.

Once the church is ready, the temporary church next door will be converted into a fellowship hall with a kitchen and a pastor’s office.

The new church building includes a nursery and four classrooms, said church member George Buringa, who is overseeing construction.

Work is being done by Spokane Structures Inc. The company has completed several area houses of worship, including the Spokane Islamic Center.

Retail center planned

A developer plans to build a retail center north of Coeur d’Alene near Athol. The project would go in at U.S. Highway 95 and State Route 54, serving travelers as well as residents in the Athol, Spirit Lake and Bayview areas.

Hughes Investments has developed a couple of conceptual site plans, each showing a major store, such as a small supermarket, plus a couple of motels, several restaurants and smaller shops, and a “travel plaza,” or truck stop.

The motels might appeal to Silverwood Theme Park visitors a few miles to the south, said Alan Johnson, Hughes’ senior vice president of development.

The development would sit on 25 to 30 acres on the northeast corner of the busy intersection.

One plan shows a new alignment for Highway 95 jogging to the east and cutting through the development site. The Idaho Transportation Department may pursue such an alignment as part of an ongoing effort to widen the highway to four lanes.

Hughes bought 58 acres at the intersection about a year ago and was able to get the rural land rezoned commercial. It is outside Athol city limits.

The developer is getting “significant interest” from potential tenants, including a regional grocer doing a market study for a store there, but none is ready to name, Johnson said.

“I’m surprised by the interest we’ve gotten,” despite the recession, he said.

He said he’d like to break ground this year.

Collector’s Zone moves

Spokane-based card and sports memorabilia shop Collector’s Zone has moved to a Spokane Valley store at 106 N. Evergreen Road, Suite B. The locally owned business has been in the Spokane Valley Mall for nine years.

Collector’s Zone is open seven days a week, said owner Ann Campbell. The store celebrated its 10th anniversary this month.

Rainier Patents expands

Rainier Patents, a Spokane full-service patent and intellectual property law firm, has upgraded to a full office suite inside the Fernwell Building at 505 W. Riverside.

Rainier Patents works with Northwest, U.S. and international companies. The firm’s principal, Paul W. Mitchell, has more than 10 years of experience.

Up to now the firm has used two of the Fernwell’s single offices.

The move into the larger Fernwell office follows the hiring of new associate Rich Bucher and growth in intellectual property business, said a press release.

Deputy City Editor Scott Maben contributed to this report. Here’s the Dirt is a weekly report on new developments and business openings, closings or movement in the Inland Northwest. E-mail or call (509) 459-5528.