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Bistro building near city park demolished

A bar and restaurant at the edge of Coeur d’Alene City Park was demolished this week after the city reclaimed land once used for a rail line.

BNSF Railway Co. abandoned the land beneath the Parkside Bistro in 2006, but owner Kevin Eskelin had a lease that lasted through April 2010. City Attorney Mike Gridley said the city gave Eskelin until May 28 to “wind down affairs” and remove equipment.

The city paid a demolition company to remove the building on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The railroad had used the land under an easement for more than 100 years. A mandatory condition of the city receiving the land from the federal government in 1904 held that it be used for park purposes, Gridley has said.

“It will be more park open space,” Gridley said Wednesday. “I don’t know in the long term whether there will be other buildings or parking.”

The Parkside Bistro has operated for decades under a variety of names, including the BeeHive and the Catcher in the Rye. Eskelin bought it in 1996.

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