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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Last Chance To Pick McEuen Art

The public has an opportunity to weigh in on the next sculpture that will be erected in McEuen Park, but you better hurry because voting will wrap up after the McEuen open house on Saturday. The four finalists are on display in the upper level at the Coeur d'Alene Public Library, along with comment forms for public input. The city of Coeur d'Alene's Arts Commission is planning to select the winner beginning next week. The winning piece will be located at the Third Street entrance of the park. The city posted "a call for artists" on an Internet site called "CAFE," or www.callforentry.org. Steve Anthony, city recreation director, said the website generated more than 120 submittals/Shawn Gust, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do you think public art is important?

A Sneak Preview At New McEuen

On his Facebook page, SR photog buddy Jesse Tinsley posts: "Here's a stitched-together panorama of McEuen Park in Coeur d'Alene, showing the ongoing work in the drizzly October weather. The downtown Coeur d'Alene park will one day be a show place with playgrounds, sport courts, a splash pad, green spaces and parking. But getting around the construction in Coeur d'Alene is a headache." (Click on photo for better view)

DFO: Looks like a whole lotta additional green space/park to me.

Question: Will an open house on McEuen Field, scheduled for Oct. 12, have an impact on the mayor/City Council election?

City Reopens 3rd Street Launch

LCDC spokesman Keith Erickson emails: "As anticipated, the popular Third Street boat launch re-opened on Tuesday. The launch, the most heavily used boater facility on Lake Coeur d’Alene, closed last June as part of the McEuen Park renovations currently under way. Though open now to the public, there will be intermittent closures in the weeks to some as crews continue work on the park upgrades. Those closures will be minimal, most lasting only an hour or so. A prolonged closure of a day is anticipated when paving occurs in the area of the launch, said Phil Boyd of Welch Comer Engineers. There will be public notification prior to that closure. Meantime, city officials reiterated that there are no plans to permanently close the boat launch."

Question (for all but the diehard critics): Did you survive the closure of the 3rd Street dock, Front Avenue & McEuen Field in good shape?

Comment Sought On McEuen Art

Here's the chance for those of you who squawked at the decision by the Arts Commission to approve a piece of public art for the Fourth Street entrance to the new McEuen Field that proved controversial. The city of Coeur d'Alene is seeking input from the public re: proposed pieces of public art for the Third Street entrance to the new and improved park. You can see models of the pieces and comment on them at the Coeur d'Alene Public Library.

Orzell Seeks Total Cost On McEuen

During the Coeur d'Alene City Council meeting Tuesday, City Hall critic Frank Orzell raised questions re: the McEuen Field project. You can read Orzell's concerns in the draft minutes of City Clerk Renata McLeod's report below:

Frank Orzell, Coeur d’Alene, stated that he wanted to know when the taxpayers would be told the total cost for McEuen, which he believes is $23 million.   He believes that any costs of city employees related to the project should also be added in to the total.  Mr. Tymesen stated that the document presented by Mr. Orzell at $23 million does not add up and that he will know the final costs after the completion of the project.  Mr. Orzell stated that he believes the project was supposed to increase in green space and from the pictures presented tonight he believes there is a subtraction of green space and he would like a breakdown of the totals. More here.

Question: Has anyone been down to McEuen Field to view the progress of the makeover?

McEuen Project On Schedule

The McEuen Park project is on track according to the engineers who gave an update to the Four County Natural Resource Committee on Wednesday. Phil Boyd and Dell Hatch from Welch Comer Engineers spent an hour updating the group on progress and changes that have been made over the life of the project. The most recent change was the removal of the sundial on the promenade portion of the project. Instead, Hatch told the group the $51,000 that was going to be spent on that project is now being used to install heavier electrical infrastructure to support major events at the park. "They did fall a little behind on dry utilities," Boyd said. "But they should be able to make that up." Overall, they said the project is on schedule to have all of the hardscape aspects finished by mid-November — leaving most of the landscaping until spring/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Gabe Green's Press photo: President of Welch Comer Engineers and Surveyors, Phil Boyd, left, talks with Travis Forsman, right, and Adam Morris, middle, of Cameron Reilly)

Question: Just had a funny thought. What if … Mary Souza is the mayor next year when McEuen Field reopens. What do you think she'll do with dedication ceremonies?

Council OKs Downtown Street Change

Item: Part of Third St. to be two-way: Cd'A City Council votes 4-3 to approve change/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: Downtown Coeur d'Alene driving will be dramatically different next spring. A lot to do with downtown will be different next spring when the $20 million McEuen Park reconstruction project wraps up, but two-way traffic will be incorporated into the finished project. The Coeur d'Alene City Council narrowly agreed 4 to 3 Tuesday to turn the one-way Third Street into a two-way street from Front to Lakeside avenues. The change is designed to ease vehicle congestion as a result of turning Front Avenue into a limited-traffic and pedestrian-friendly zone between Second and Third streets - a decision the City Council agreed to by a 5-1 vote in January.

Question: Do you feel that this significant downtown street change flew under the radar?

Deanna Explains McEuen Art Pick

Councilwoman Deanna Goodlander (re: McEuen Field archway contract awarded): a selection panel is defined by the Public Art Policy. It consists of 3 arts professionals, two of whom must be artists, a citizen, a city councilmember, the landscape architect, engineer, professional involved in the project and the Mayor can appoint another citizen. There were 194 entries from around the country, the panel narrowed it down to about 30 and then down to 4. These four were paid a stipend to produce a macquete (model) and those were put on display at the library for citizen comments. Then the panel met and chose the finalist. the four were all excellent, but I love this one because it is transparent. You can see Tubbs and the Lake through the wires. The others were more prominent. The Arts Commission decided to do a nationwide call to get more variety for McEuen. There were submissions by locals, but they did not make the cut. There are two more major pieces to go and they are in process now. One at third and Front and one down near Tubbs Hill. The Tubbs one is supposed to be interactive.

Question: Are you get more/less/same excited about new McEuen Field, as details like this come into view?

McEuen Field Work Continues

McEuen Update provides construction status for Sherman Avenue work and ongoing reconstruction at McEuen Park/Front Avenue today: "Harbor House construction has begun with the pouring of concrete for the foundation. The stem walls will be poured next week. Third Street improvements are well under way and on schedule. Curb, sidewalk and approach work starts today, June 7. Crushed rock will be applied to the road surface beginning Monday in preparation for paving. (McEuen Update photo)

Question: Have you ventured downtown to check out construction work?

Tunnel For Underground Garage?

At least one downtown property owner is asking permission for its own access point into the Front Avenue parking garage tied to a redeveloped McEuen Park. Blackridge Properties LLC. wants to construct a pedestrian tunnel into the parking garage from the property it owns, 401 Front Ave., where the Bank of America building sits. The company would pay for the tunnel, and it would make for easier connection into the $20 million redeveloped McEuen Park and the garage, it says. "There's no reason to have the tunnel, (but) we thought it would be a worthwhile investment for potential future interconnections as well as convenience of the users," said Chris Meyer, of Blackridge Properties. The company is seeking an easement from the city to allow access. The General Services Committee isn't recommending the idea, which is headed to the City Council for a decision at 6 p.m. Tuesday/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Workers construct underground parking garage at McEuen Field)

Question: Good idea or bad idea?

LCDC: Parking Garage Ready Nov. 19

The latest newsletter of the Lake City Development Corp. includes an update on the $20M McEuen Field expansion, a tribute to the late Jim Elder, preliminary thoughts re: reconstruction of the Four Corners (NW Blvd/Garden Avenue) area; and a profile of board Chairman Dave Patzer. The newsletter reports the new McEuen Field parking structure should be ready by Nov. 19:

Hundreds of cubic tons of dirt are currently being excavated from the northwest edge of McEuen Park to make way for the new parking structure, which will increase parking spaces at the parking area from 595 to 702. Team McEuen spokesman Phil Boyd, an engineer with Welch-Comer Engineers, said the parking structure is expected to be open by November 19. Meantime, the contractor, the city, and engineers are working closely to inform the public on street closures, brief utility interruptions, and other construction-related issues that may impact the public. You can read the rest of the story & the latest newsletter here. (Duane Rasmussen photo of McEuen Field reconstruction)

Looking For Parking In All The Places

From Lake City Development Corporation board meeting minutes from Wednesday:

Also during its regular monthly board meeting, Coeur d’Alene Downtown Association Manager Terry Cooper reported that a parking plan is in place to alleviate inconveniences imposed by the McEuen Park upgrade project. A free shuttle bus service from the Memorial Field area to the downtown is under evaluation, and other downtown lots managed by Diamond Parking will be open for public parking to accommodate for lost parking during construction. Cooper said notices will be provided to downtown business owners and visitors.

Question: Can anyone imagine the downtown parking mess we're going to have this summer?

Breaking! Freedom Tree Has Fallen

Duane Rasmussen reports from shoreline that downtown Coeur d'Alene that workers didn't wait until 10 o'clock to level the Freedom Tree at McEuen Field. It's down. He's going to try to get a photograph from the top of the Coeur d'Alene Resort garage for us. Stay tuned.

Freedom Tree Coming Down Friday

From Parks Director Doug Eastwood: "We met with Team McEuen and Contractors Northwest this morning.  One of the agenda items was the contractors construction schedule. The Freedom Tree is scheduled to be removed this Friday (at about 10 a.m.). The entire park area, including Front Street, will be closed for construction by the end of the day today. The contractor will leave an opening on Fourth and Front Street all day Thursday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. for anyone that would like to take a photo of the Freedom Tree before it is removed. The contractor will salvage approximately 40 feet of the trunk of the tree and transfer the trunk to the Parks Department for future use. Attached are ideas that we have received from people throughout the community on how we might use the wood from the Freedom Tree.  Also attached is a historical overview of the tree by Scott Reed, Scott and others planted the tree around 1962. The Freedom Tree is a Norwegian Spruce and it will be replaced with another Norwegian Spruce in the vicinity of the new Veterans Memorial.  The new Freedom Tree will be approximately 30 feet in height when it is planted."

Question: Are you interested in taking a photo with the Freedom Tree before it comes down?

City Budgets $20.2M For McEuen

This design was pulled from the city of Coeur d'Alene's McEuen Field page, which offers a detailed design of the different amenities in the project.

While Contractors Northwest Inc. will begin construction on the McEuen Field project this week after landing the $14.8 million bid, the city of Coeur d'Alene has budgeted the project to cost $20.2 million when all is said and done. The $20 million figure includes every expected expense for the project over two fiscal years, including savings the city is setting aside as contingency costs, design contracts and architectural and engineering fees. What accounts for the roughly $5.4 million difference between the reserved cash and winning contract bid? The city has slotted around $1 million to pay for equipment for the park. Splash pad equipment, park benches, garbage cans and the like aren't the contractor's responsibility, but the city's. The $1.9 million contract with the park's designers, Team McEuen, is included in that total, as is the $1.2 million contract for the east end parking lot work that has already been completed/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.


McEuen Field Resumes Starts Monday

From Lake City Development Corporation Facebook page: "Here it comes! Crews will begin moving in equipment and construction fence lines on Monday as work gets under way for the 2013 McEuen Field project. This will be a whirlwind transformation with noticeable changes happening fast. For regular updates, check out our Facebook page. We'll also take an in-depth look at the project in our March LCDC newsletter. If you're not a subscriber, simply click on "join email list" on our homepage at lcdc.org."

Question (from LCDC Facebook page): What excites you most about the McEuen project? Randy?

City Names McEuen Ombudsman

Coeur d’Alene Engineering Project Manager Dennis Grant will assume the role. Grant will serve as an ombudsman, working with contractor CNI and property owners to help facilitate the flow of information. “Dennis will be the ‘boots on the ground’ during construction,” said City Administrator Wendy Gabriel. “He, along with our City engineer, will work with the contractor and the property owners to ensure things go smoothly and that any issues are immediately addressed.” Grant has worked in the City’s Engineering Services Department for the past 13 years/Kristina Lyman, Coeur d'Alene Today. More below.

Question: Have you visited the reconstruction sign this winter?

McEuen Field: $4.2M More

The city of Coeur d'Alene wants to add previously removed amenities to the McEuen Park plan, and is asking its urban renewal agency to fund the additions.The City Council agreed Wednesday night to move forward with a project plan that now includes tennis and basketball courts, as well as an expanded pavilion and other perks that weren't a part of the project design a few weeks ago. The council, as it has on almost all McEuen Field matters over the last year, split on the matter, and Mayor Sandi Bloem broke the deadlock by voting in favor of the enhanced version of the plan. "The headline this morning was absolutely right," Bloem said, referring to the Press headline in Wednesday's paper about the park options before the council. "'What park do you want?'" The decision means the next step is to officially ask Lake City Development Corp., the urban renewal agency and main financial supporter of the park project, to contribute up to $4.2 million more/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Which McEuen Field did you want?

McEuen: Fall Work About To Conclude

From Keith Erickson, spokesman for Lake City Development Corp:

Work on the 2012 McEuen Park project will wrap up by mid-November with crews expected to pave the southern entrance to the new City Hall parking lot at 8th Street and Young Avenue early next week. Both new City Hall lots will be open to the public by Nov. 16, although finishing touches on the parking areas may impose minor inconveniences over the next several weeks. The upgraded parking lots will accommodate 186 vehicles and 26 boat trailer spots. Crews are hoping to hydroseed the parking lot islands this fall. Next spring, 43 trees and 235 bushes will be planted within those areas. Meantime, gravel has been laid on the new trail along the base of Tubbs Hill. Soggy fall conditions have postponed paving until next spring. Though work will soon be shutting down for the season, crews plan to install light poles in the City Hall lots and construct a retaining wall along Young Avenue west of 8th Street over the winter. Construction will resume next spring and focus on redevelopment of the park. (Remember: You can see up-to-date photos of McEuen Field work by clicking on LCDC tile in upper lefthand rail of Huckleberries)

Question: What is your impression of initial work on McEuen Field upgrade?

McEuen: City Hall Lot To Be Paved

From LCSC spokesman Keith Erickson: Paving of the new East Lot near City Hall and the reconstructed lot in the same area will begin next Thursday. Work will take about three days, officials said Wednesday morning during a weekly McEuen project update. Base rock will be put down today and tomorrow. Construction will ultimately increase parking in the City Hall vicinity from 65 spaces to 187 and offer 23 boat trailer parking spaces. Meantime, there will temporary delays to traffic at 8th Street and Bancroft Avenue Thursday while crews perform asphalt patch work. Work continues on schedule, engineer Phil Boyd said Wednesday.

Crews Remove City Hall Parking Lot

Spokesman Keith Erickson for Lake City Development Corporation reports on latest development in McEuen Field upgrade:

As expected, crews today finished removal of asphalt from the City Hall parking lot and will soon begin hauling in base rock for that lot, as well as the new East Lot under construction adjacent to City Hall. Meantime, Team McEuen engineer Phil Boyd said Friday that when complete, the McEuen Park upgrade will include parking for 45 boat trailers; 23 in the new East Lot, 19 in the parking facility and three handicapped spots near the launch. The project remains on schedule and Boyd does not anticipate looming rain to hamper efforts.

  • Remember: You can see latest Webcam photos of McEuen Field work by clicking on LCDC button in upper lefthand rail of Huckleberries.

McEuen: City Hall Lot Work To Begin

McEuen Construction Parking Plan (in green area) from November to March 2013 (493 total car space, 34 total boat spaces)

From Lake City Development Corp. spokesman Keith Erickson: Earthwork on the Third Street parking lot is complete, with the removal of 25,000 cubic yards of soil (lowering the level by 12 feet). The dirt was hauled eastward to what will become the new parking lot south of City Hall. Demolition of the present City Hall parking lot will begin today or tomorrow. Work there will create 14 new parking spaces and improve lighting and landscaping. Officials plan to keep the city utility payment drop box at the new location on 8th street, adjacent to City Hall. Meantime, officials continue to evaluate temporary parking plans to accommodate motorists during construction (see conceptual drawing). Authorities are working with local businesses and the Coeur d’Alene Downtown Association to ensure adequate parking alternatives are provided. “Work is on schedule and we have enjoyed very suitable working conditions so far,” said Phil Boyd of Welch-Comer Engineers.

New McEuen Dog Park Total: $67K

How much is that doggie park in the window? Around $67,000, actually. Undaunted by the sum, the Kootenai County Dog Park Association is optimistic it can have the funds secured in time to build a dog park at the base of Tubbs Hill at the east end of McEuen Field when the downtown park project is constructed next year. "It's a little more than we spent on the last two," said Bob MacDonald, KCDPA chairman, calling the design "a little bit classier" than the other dog parks in town. "It's going to be unique because it's going to be the downtown dog park." It will be more expensive than the other two parks because it will use better materials for the state-of-the-art design, he said/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (SR file photo of former Kootenai County Commissioner Bob Macdonald and his dog, Jake, at are dog park)

Question: Do you want a state-of-the-are dog park included in McEuen Field upgrade plans?

Dudley: Trailer Slots Mar New McEuen

Dudley Do-Right (re: 183 new trees, dog park for McEuen Park): The part that really chaps my hide is the discovery that the lower level parking lot edge has been pushed 65 feet out into the park for the sole purpose of accomodating the boat launch parking closer to the current launch location. The financial consequences are that over $500,000 of cost premium has been added to the project. So we’re losing green space and increasing the park costs just to accomodate 22 of the 48 boat parking spaces a few hundred feet closer to the launch. I’ve walked or driven past this park almost daily for years now and I seldom see the boat parking spaces fully utilized on a regular basis, and if so, only during the summertime. During the other 9 months of the year the boat parking sits empty. It would be a shame to see the loss of valuable acres of green space that could be used year-round in our new four-season park to accomodate the infrequent boat launch users in the summer time. Full comment here.

DFO: I agree with Dudley Do-Right. The compromise to mar the new McEuen Field by allowing some boat-trailer parking along what is now Front Avenue is a bad one. It won't satisfy detractors. So why not do the park right and put all boat-trailer parking behind City Hall.

Question: Should the Coeur d'Alene City Council put all boat-trailer parking behind City Hall?

Legion Field Should Be Ready In 2013

From spokesman Keith Erickson of the Lake City Development Corp:

Crews involved in the 2012 McEuen Park upgrades have so far hauled away an estimated 25,000 cubic yards of dirt (the equivalent of 2,500 dump truck loads) from the Third Street parking lot. Another 3,000 yard of soil is due to be scraped from the site, lowering the former parking lot by as much as 12 feet. The dirt is being transported eastward to what will become the new East City Hall parking lot. Paving there is expected to occur on schedule November 2. The final four light poles at the McEuen ball field will be removed next week. Officials waited to remove the last poles until nesting osprey moved on, which they have. Meantime, development of the new American Legion field at the southwest end of Ramsey Park continues with lighting expected to be installed by the end of the month. City Parks Director Doug Eastwood says he expects the field to be ready for play by next season, which starts in June 2013. (SR file photo)


McEuen Project Employs 125

Above, current view via city of Coeur d'Alene Web cam of work on parking lot south of City Hall and part of old McEuen Softball Field No. 1. See McEuen Web cam here.

In her draft minutes of the Coeur d'Alene City Council meeting Tuesday, Assistant City Clerk Renata McLeod reports:

"Tina Johnson, 601 E. Front Avenue: Was concerned about a quote from a Councilmember that the money is going toward a park when it could go toward creating jobs.  Ms. Johnson contacted the contractor and found that they have approximately 125 people involved in project, providing continued and new employment opportunities.  Additionally, local supplies are being purchased for this project.  She thanked Councilman McEvers, Councilman Kennedy, and the Mayor for owning and employing local workers.  Councilman Goodlander stated that she would have loved to be at groundbreaking but had a family commitment to attend that day."

Question: Anyone check out work at McEuen Field lately?

McEuen Field Work Ahead Of Schedule

Lake City Development Corporation spokesman Keith Erickson provides this update on McEuen Field work:

Beautiful early autumn weather and good soil conditions have combined to put crews ahead of schedule on the first stage of the McEuen Park upgrade. Crews are currently excavating soil from the Third Street parking lot and hauling it to a site south of City Hall, where a new lot will provide parking for 179 vehicles and 23 boat/vehicle slots. “We’re slightly ahead of schedule,” Welch-Comer Engineers President Phillip Boyd said Tuesday afternoon. Soil taken from the “borrow site” at the Third Street lot is “sufficiently compactable,” expediting construction of the City Hall parking lot, Boyd said. Meantime, the City Hall parking lot off 8th Street is closed, but the utility drop box in that area is still accessible on the east side of 8th Street. While the good weather holds out, crews are working 10-hour shifts six days a week. Look for regular updates on the city’s blog site.

Question: Have you taken time to view work on McEuen Field?

Warning: Stay Away From McEuen

Work as shown in this city of Coeur d'Alene webcam from 5 minutes ago continues full tilt on the controversial upgrade of McEuen Field on the Lake Coeur d'Alene waterfront. You can follow the webcam here.

City of Coeur d'Alene news release re: McEuen Field:

McEuen Park is under construction and access to the park is prohibited. The park is a construction zone and for everyone’s safety citizens will need to walk around the orange construction fence in the park using Front Avenue and 8th Street for the perimeter route. Access to Tubbs Hill is still open at the Third Street entrance.  Please stay on the walkway along the seawall to reach the Third Street access point to the hill.  Tenth Street, at E. Lakeshore Drive, is the other access point on the east side of the hill.  If you have any questions, contact the Parks Department at 769-2252.

Question: Any reactions to work on McEuen Field?

Scraped: New View Of McEuen Field

Ah, McEuen Field doesn't look like it did 10 days ago. You can follow the work on McEuen Field by clicking onto the webcam provided by the city of Coeur d'Alene, which refreshes every 5 minutes. Click here.

AM: McEuen Field Makeover Begins

A crowd of about 100 people showed up for the official ground-breaking for McEuen Field in Coeur d'Alene this morning. Major pieces of the $14.2 million makeover will be a promenade along Lake Coeur d'Alene, a grassy amphitheater, a large children's playground and summer splash pad, and new paths, parking lots, picnic shelters and restrooms. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)