Businesses on North Fourth Street in downtown Coeur d’Alene are feeling apprehensive about four months of street work scheduled to start after Memorial Day.
“We need people to know there is parking in Midtown,” said Dwight Hill, owner of the Office Bar and Grill at 816 N. Fourth St.
Hill said he is excited about the beautification project but knows the construction will be tough on businesses.
“I do have a back door, so we can work that as much as we can,” he said.
Crews will replace pavement, curbs and sidewalks on 10 blocks stretching from Lakeside to Harrison avenues.
Working in phases, the crews will rip out and replace the pavement and curbs first, then return after all three phases are complete to install decorative landscaping, streetlights and benches.
The middle section will be done first, with crews proceeding south, then north. Each of the paving sections is expected to last four to six weeks, with at least one lane of traffic available for the duration, City Engineer Gordon Dobler said.
Northbound Fourth Street forms a couplet with Third Street, which heads south into downtown Coeur d’Alene. Business owners want customers to know access is available from Third Street and parking is available in a free lot at Montana Avenue, just south of Boise Avenue and next to the Idaho Youth Ranch thrift store.
The work is the latest in a series of street beautification projects in the Lake City that began in the late 1980s with upgrades to Sherman and Lakeside avenues. The upgrades more recently stretched to the city’s western entrance at Northwest Boulevard.
Project costs are being shared. The city’s urban renewal agency, called the Lake City Development Corp., is paying $1.6 million, and the city is contributing $1 million. Property owners, through a local improvement district, are adding $250,000.
Dobler said the middle section is being done first because it will last the longest – six weeks.
Rebuilding it includes creating five decorative intersections – designed to slow traffic and attract pedestrians. The intersections will be raised and narrowed, and colorful brick pavers will be installed. Crews will repave and reinstall curbs before moving on to the next section.
“The street needs (to be) done, no doubt about it. Maybe it’ll bring this part of town to life,” said Dusty Rhoads of the American Legion Kootenai Post 14, which sits in the middle of the project.
But Rhoads worries about the impact on veterans who won’t be able to park in front anymore, as well as the post’s income, which relies on bingo players and annual memberships. “It’s going to make it a lot more inconvenient,” he said.
Tom Capone, owner of Capone’s bar and grill, said his business is fortunate to also have access from Roosevelt Avenue.
“Our business is still accessible, but for the other ones, I feel bad for them.” Capone added, however, that there’s no good time to do a street project, with the short window of time between bouts of cold weather.
“We’re all a little apprehensive about it.”