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McEuen remake could cost $40 million

A dramatic remake of McEuen Field, Coeur d’Alene’s aging waterfront park, will cost somewhere between $23 million and $40 million, according to cost estimates released Thursday by a design team.

The biggest-ticket item is a two- to three-level parking structure that would cost $7 million to $14.7 million, depending on the number of levels. Other costs for the plan’s 27 different elements range from $55,000 for a sledding hill to $428,000 for a children’s play area and $2 million for a grand plaza and waterfront promenade.

The remake includes removing the Third Street boat launch and replacing it elsewhere on Lake Coeur d’Alene, moving much of the surface parking and adding up to five acres of green space. The proposal also would remove the ball fields and replace them, at least temporarily, at an area high school. Added would be tennis courts, basketball courts, walking paths, a fountain and an accessible trail on the north side of Tubbs Hill.

City Council members asked for a couple of weeks to absorb the information before meeting to discuss it. The city planned to post the cost estimates on its website at For funding, the city will look first to its urban renewal agency, the Lake City Development Corp., for help with the project. At 4 p.m. Wednesday, the LCDC will learn from a consultant how much money it will have over the next 10 years to support various city projects, including McEuen Field. That meeting will be at the city library.

Reaction was mixed from among the 70 or so citizens who attended the cost-estimate meeting Thursday.

The cost “is a lot lower than I thought it would be. Whether they can build it for that, I don’t know,” said Keith Peila, who has lived in Coeur d’Alene since 1964 and opposes the removal of the Third Street boat launch.

“I thought they were low,” said Susie Snedaker of Coeur d’Alene, speaking of the cost estimates. She also said she’d like the city to do a dry run on a day like the Fourth of July to see how proposed closures to parts of Fourth Street and Front Avenue would affect traffic.

“I didn’t think I’d like this,” said Ed Berry of Coeur d’Alene. But, he added, “I think it looks pretty good. It’s a beautiful-looking design. It seems more tailored to the public.”

The plan emerged after months of meetings between a 21-person steering committee and a design team. Adjustments were made after numerous public meetings and the return of 1,400 surveys: An overlook was removed from Tubbs Hill; the skate park is smaller, a two-level parking garage option was added, a bridge to the boardwalk was eliminated; and several water features were taken out.

Dick Stauffer of Miller/Stauffer Architects, part of the design team, said with the exception of the Front Avenue parking, “almost every item is detachable from the design.” However, he said, the features that have been included are “good elements” that would be found in the downtown park of any major city. Now, he said, it’s up to the City Council to take the information and formulate a vision of what should be included.

Council members asked whether all the elements would have to be put in right away or whether some could be delayed until money is available. Stauffer said most of the elements, except the parking, could be put off until later, as long as infrastructure is installed now to provide for them.

Once council members decide on a vision, they will have to decide how to pay for it. In addition to LCDC, city officials have mentioned seeking grants and donations, along with selling naming rights for various elements of the park, such as the pavilion and fountain.

“We can’t even start if we don’t get a vision accepted by the council,” Mayor Sandi Bloem said.