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Trail, road changes proposed at Coeur d’Alene Resort

Hagadone Hospitality Co. is pursuing a major makeover of the Coeur d’Alene Resort’s front entrance, collaborating with the city of Coeur d’Alene on plans that include moving the Centennial Trail closer to city streets, removing street trees, enlarging the landscaped area and eliminating some parking spaces.

The proposal, which goes before the Coeur d’Alene Planning Commission tonight, dovetails with city plans to reconfigure vehicle access to the 6.5-acre resort and close a section of Front Avenue to auto traffic. The work would be done next spring.

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The changes are intended to accommodate growing foot traffic around the resort, which has expressed interest in building a 200-room addition at the west end of the Resort Shops at Second Street and Sherman Avenue, the planning department wrote in support of the proposal.

The company is asking to modify its 1983 planned unit development that allowed the 18-story hotel to be built in exchange for preservation of open space in front of the resort for public use.

If approved, the joint city-resort project would:

• Close Front Avenue to vehicles between Second and Third streets and turn it into a pedestrian plaza and resort truck delivery access. Hagadone has offered to pay about $750,000 toward that work.

• Designate First Street as the main vehicle entrance to the resort, with the exit on Second, which would become one-way northbound to Sherman.

• Replace the the 8-foot-wide Centennial Trail across the resort property and the 8-foot-wide sidewalk along Sherman with a single, 14-foot-wide path along Sherman and Second.

• Eliminate the free, 10-space circular parking lot in front of the Hagadone corporate offices on the lake.

• Make landscaping changes in front of the resort and cut down around two dozen trees along Sherman, Second and Front streets.

The city’s Urban Forestry Committee has approved the concept of removing nine street trees in front of the resort without replacement trees being planted there, according to the planning department. Hagadone also has proposed removing five street trees on the north side of Sherman near its Bonsai Bistro restaurant. Those trees likely would need to be replaced, the city’s urban forestry coordinator said.

Taking out the sculpted maples will open up “even better views of the lake and mountains,” the planning department wrote in supporting Hagadone’s application.

About 14 more street trees may be removed along Front between Second and Third streets.

As for relocating the Centennial Trail away from the resort entry, the North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation told the city in a Dec. 2 letter to the planning commission that, “the most ideal scenario would include leaving the Centennial Trail in its current location across the lawn of the Coeur d’Alene Resort.”

The group also said it prefers a 16-foot-wide path for a shared sidewalk and trail. “Anything narrower than the 16 feet of trail would diminish capacity and in turn increase the chance for user conflicts,” Foundation Board Chairman John Bruning wrote.

The city’s piece of the project – the changes to Second and Front – will benefit the public as well as the resort, Mayor Sandi Bloem said.

Better traffic flow and pedestrian safety for the resort is good for the community, she said.

“They are the anchor for downtown,” Bloem said.

Jerry Jaeger, president and co-owner of Hagadone Hospitality, declined to comment Monday.

The project will result in a stronger bridge between the revamped McEuen Park, set to reopen next year, and the City Park-City Beach area, said Bill Greenwood, the interim city parks director.

“That’s always been a real congested location there for the Centennial Trail. So we’re trying hopefully to get an alignment in there that would create a better flow through that one-block stretch,” Greenwood said.

The City Council last January voted 5-1 to limit traffic on Front and designate it a pedestrian-friendly zone between Second and Third streets. The goal is to eliminate clashes between auto traffic, bicyclists and people on foot. Much of the traffic involves people walking between the resort and downtown shops, and the Centennial Trail route adds bikes, runners and walkers to the mix.

To maintain traffic flow to McEuen Park and the Third Street boat launch, the council in August voted 4-3 to convert one-way Third Street into a two-way street from Lakeside to Front avenues. The city also will put a right turn lane from eastbound Sherman onto Third, sacrificing about five on-street parking spots.

The Planning Commission’s review is limited to Hagadone’s proposed changes within the planned unit development boundaries. It does not include the changes that would be made to Front and Second streets. The commission’s decision is final unless it’s appealed to the City Council.

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