Thursday, August 21, 2014

New Book Club Examines Food Systems

Food For Thought Group Meeting at Coeur d’Alene Library
A new book club focusing on the many facets of a local food system is starting at the Coeur d’Alene Public Library in partnership with the Inland Northwest Food Network.
The Food for Thought Book Club will start with a discussion of Michael Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals” on Wednesday, Sept. 3, 6-7:30 p.m. in the Community Room at the library, 702 E. Front Ave.
The book club is free and open to anyone interested in what they eat. Discussions of a different book will continue at the library the first Wednesday of each month.
Currently there are about 10 copies of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” in the Cooperative Information Network catalog. Participants should contact their local library to obtain a copy.

Patrons who need accommodation to participate in library programs or services are asked to contact the staff prior to the activity by calling 208-769-2315. For more library information visit The library is a department of the City of Coeur d’Alene and a member of the Cooperative Information Network, Library Director, Bette Ammon. Library hours: Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m./Friday & Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m./Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. For regular updates follow the library on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

LCDC approves $1.5 million for river corridor acquisition

City officials and consultants discuss opportunities for the BNSF corridor earlier this week.

The Lake City Development Corporation has voted to provide $1.525 million to help acquire railroad right-of-way property along the Spokane River between the Riverstone development and Huetter. Calling it an “enormous opportunity” to enhance public access to the river, the board voted unanimously to fund more than half of the $2.5 million price tag that Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad put on the property.

“If we don’t buy this now, this opportunity for public access is gone forever,” said LCDC board chairman Denny Davis. The purchase agreement, which will also include city funding, involves about four miles of property roughly from Riverstone east to Huetter Road. The LCDC’s Lake and River districts encompass the east and west ends of the property. The city will pay for purchase of the central section. Last month, the City Council voted unanimously to tap utility savings for the city’s portion of the purchase.

The riverside land involves private property owners that the city will negotiate with to obtain river access alongside what is expected to be private development with restricted public access. City attorney Mike Gridley, who has worked for years to negotiate the land deal with BNSF, said developers are “warming” to the idea of providing public access to parts of their property in exchange for right of way. “I think the needle’s moving toward significant public access,” Gridley told the LCDC board.

The LCDC funding is subject to approval of a sales agreement with the railroad.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Downtown parking changes considered

The possible reconfiguration of parking at Independence Point and the Museum of North Idaho will be among the first considerations as officials move forward with a master plan to transform a corridor along the Spokane River that stretches from downtown to Huetter Road.

During a tour of the property this week, the Four Corners/BLM Corridor Review Committee considered a wide range of possibilities for the six-mile strip, including improved public access to the river.

Though still in the conceptual stages, the engineering firm hired to develop the corridor master plan is analyzing the possibility of reducing parking at Independence Point to open up green space near the water. Parking near the museum would be expanded.

There would be an overall gain in parking spaces under the plan. Handicap parking at Independence Point would not be reduced but resituated to provide for improved access to the water.

“It’s a relatively simple project,” said Phil Boyd, president of Welch Comer Engineers. Work could occur as early as next spring.

Other ideas discussed by the Review Committee included the possible construction of a commuter trail alongside Northwest Boulevard that would eventually connect with the Centennial Trail, and partnering with Kootenai County to develop a parking facility that could be used by county employees as well as the public.

The structural integrity of Memorial Field might also be beefed up but there are no plans to remove the historical playfield. Other ideas discussed by the committee included partnering with  North Idaho College for development of an events center and expanded green space, perhaps including ball fields, along the Centennial Trail near the U.S. Highway 95 bridge.

A pedestrian bridge could also be installed beneath the vehicle bridge leading to the south side of the river.

Further west, there is discussion of working with land owners to secure public access to the Spokane River, including the development of trails and parks along the water and expansion of Riverstone Park to the river.

There will be numerous opportunities for public input during the master plan process, Boyd said, including two community workshops, City Council meetings, and a joint meeting between the Lake City Development Corporation and city’s Parks and Recreation Commission.

Twenty-two “small groups” will also have an opportunity to weigh in. The groups are broken into eight subcategories:
·         Human Rights Education Institute and Museum of North Idaho
·         Homeowners Associations for Fort Grounds, Coeur d’Alene North, Bellerive, Riverstone and Mill River
·         Kootenai County
·         North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation
·         Lewis and Clark State College, North Idaho College, University of Idaho
·         Disability Action Center
·         Coeur d’Alene Tribe and the Idaho Division of Environmental Quality
·         Coeur d’Alene Open Space Committee, Engineering Department, Bike/Ped Committee, Planning Department, City Attorney’s Office, Urban Forestry Committee, and Parking Commission.
The 9-member Review Committee consists of City Councilmember Amy Evans, Interim Parks Director Bill Greenwood, Dave Patzer, board member for the Lake City Development Corporation (LCDC) and city’s Parks and Recreation Commission, Scott Cranston, Chairman of the Parks and Recreation Commission, Coeur d’Alene Recreation Director Steve Anthony, Mayor Steve Widmyer, LCDC Executive Director Tony Berns, Janna Paronto Realty Specialist with the Bureau of Land Management, and Mark Browning, Vice President for Community Relations for North Idaho College.

Adoption of the master plan is anticipated in February 2015.

Fresh Start volunteers collect trash on Tubbs Hill

About a dozen volunteers representing Fresh Start spent Saturday morning picking up trash on Tubbs Hill. The group collected about 14 large bags of garbage, said Fresh Start Director Justine Graybeal. “They loved it and hikers on the hill were very thankful,” she said. Fresh Start plans to make the Tubbs Hill trash pickup a monthly event as long as the weather holds up. Fresh Start is a drop-in center for the homeless, near homeless and mentally ill. It is located at 1524 Sherman Avenue.

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Toast for the Trails

Music, fun, food and beverages greeted more than 325 people who gathered for last weekend’s Third Annual Ales to Trails event at McEuen Park. The gathering benefits the North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation. Downtown Association Manager Terry Cooper said nearly $10,000 was raised to help maintain the city’s 39 miles of pedestrian and bicycle paths. “People really enjoyed themselves and it was a great time with good music and some food vendors to complement the micro-breweries," Cooper said. About 20 local and regional micro-breweries participated. Cooper said organizers may move Ales to Trails to a larger area at McEuen Park next year to accommodate the growing event.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Cd'A Council postpones public hearings

The Coeur d’Alene City Council has postponed the following public hearings from the August 19th City Council Meeting until the September 2nd Council meeting:

·         Lilac Glen (ZC-1-14, A-4-14).  This request involves an annexation request for a 3.51 acre parcel and a zone change from R-3 to R-8 and R-17 in the vicinity of Pennsylvania Avenue, Fernan Hill Road, Lilac Lane and Interstate 90.

·         Old Central School (ZC-2-14).  This request involves a proposed zone change for the “Old Central School” located at the corner of Sixth Street and Garden Avenue from R-17 to Neighborhood Commercial.

Questions regarding this change can be directed to the City’s Planning Department at 769-2240.