Thursday, February 28, 2013

What's your idea for the Freedom Tree?

Portion of tree to be salvaged during construction of McEuen

While the Freedom Tree will be removed during construction of McEuen Park, its legacy will live on.

The tree, located in the large parking lot at the end of Fourth Street, is being removed to make way for a parking structure and pedestrian access into the park. The city plans to salvage about 30 feet of the tree’s base in an effort to preserve history. City officials are asking residents for their ideas on what to do with the wood.

The Parks Department is planning to make benches and possibility do some chainsaw artwork on 7 or 8 feet of the base. Also discussed is creating keepsake blocks from the tree that include an inscription of the planting date and the kind of tree, a Norway spruce. Another idea is to hold a ceremony prior to the removal as a way for people to gather and remember what the tree has stood for during the past 50 years.

“The Freedom Tree represents a very special piece of our history, one that symbolizes the incredible bravery and courage of our veterans,” said Parks Director Doug Eastwood. “We plan to do everything we can to ensure its legacy lives on for decades to come.”

The tree was planted in the early to mid-60’s, primarily as a way to prevent Fourth Street from extending farther south and ultimately encroaching onto Tubbs Hill. It wasn’t until the Vietnam War that it became a symbol of freedom. In 1972, a plaque was placed at the base of the tree to honor local U.S. Air Force pilot Fred McMurray, who was shot down and held captive. McMurray was eventually released and returned home to Coeur d’Alene. The tree also paid tribute to all others who were missing in action during the war.

While the tree will be removed, the plaque and Veterans Memorial will be relocated to a more prominent area in the park. A new Norway spruce will be planted and named the ‘Freedom Tree’ in an area just west of the new Veteran’s Memorial. The new memorial will also include flags from each branch of the military and a medallion that identifies the branches as well as the year each branch originated. The American Flag will be front and center and a P.O.W. flag will flank the military flags.

To share your ideas on how to use the Freedom Tree wood to preserve history, visit the city’s Facebook page or email

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

City of Coeur d'Alene Street Maintenance Department 2013 Spring Clean Up

With spring-like weather arriving, your Street Maintenance crews will begin their spring cleanup program. Once arterial and collector streets are cleaned up, City crews will be working to complete initial sweeping of residential streets. Sweeping of streets is an effort that street crews continue until the winter snows fly. Street sweeping reduces dust and creates an environment that benefits everyone, whether we live here or are a visitor. Residential streets are swept an average of 4 times yearly and all arterials are swept bi-weekly. Your continued assistance is appreciated. The following tips will help in our efforts to meet the goals of fresh air, beautiful views, and clean water for Coeur d’Alene, our “City by the Lake.”

Sweep your sidewalks as soon as possible. It’s okay to sweep sidewalk sand debris into the street for sweepers to pick up during the Spring Clean-up, please do not make piles in the gutter; sweepers are not designed to handle excessive amounts of sand, gravel, dirt, or large rocks. Do not put debris such as sod, garden or wood waste, limbs, or branches in the street. Try to move parked cars if you hear the sweeper in your neighborhood . 

Trim low hanging branches and limbs from your curbside trees, shrubs or plants to allow the sweeper to clean as close to the curb line as possible. Street sweepers are higher profile than cars and pickup trucks. Damage to mirrors, antennas, and strobe lights are costly in terms of repairs and down time. Trying to schedule certain streets on certain days for sweeping is not a feasible option at this time.

Please listen to KVNI or check the City of Coeur d’Alene Website for daily updates and to hear when the sweepers will be in your area.

For more information about the Street Maintenance Department 2013 Spring Clean Up, call 769-2233.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Third Street Parking Lot Closed Through Friday, March 1st

The City of Coeur d’Alene announces that the city-owned parking lot located off of Third Street next to the Coeur d’Alene Resort will be closed on Monday, February 25th through Friday, March 1st. The closure will allow for a trench to be dug to move the utility lines which run to the Resort out of the right of way along Front Avenue.

It was originally hoped that the utility lines could be run over the storm main but they must be routed under the main which means that the trench will need to be dug deeper and wider than anticipated, which will take more time to excavate and backfill.

Diamond Parking has agreed to allow those holding monthly parking passes at the Third Street lot to park in lots that they manage. Parking pass holders must make sure that their pass is visible to the lot checkers or they will be ticketed. Parking is also available at Memorial Field and in the City Hall parking lot. For more information, call 769-2300.

Ombudsman considered for McEuen construction

Construction on McEuen Park picks up again next month. 
To help facilitate the flow of information between the general contractor and the community, the City is considering hiring a construction ombudsman.

This last phase of the project addresses all of the design elements planned for the park as well as improvements to Front Avenue. Bids for the general contractor will be opened March 5, with City Council approving the contractor at a special meeting March 7.

The construction project will be sizable and things like project status, road closures, upcoming work, how to access businesses, temporary water outages and many other seen and unforeseen issues will need to be managed and communicated properly to those affected.

“This position requires a construction or engineering background,” City Administrator Wendy Gabriel said. “We need someone with boots on the ground who can work directly with the contractor to find solutions to problems that may affect area businesses. The person in this position can cut through the technicalities of the project and communicate accurate and detailed information back to the community.”

City public information officers and communications professionals would continue in their existing roles and work with the ombudsman to ensure information is disseminated across existing communication channels.

The ombudsman position is similar to those created for the Midtown project and the Education Corridor. The scope of the McEuen project, which is expected to be completed in November, warrants the same attention, Gabriel said.
The cost for the contracted position has been proposed to be split with the Lake City Development Corporation.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

City Council in Brief

If you missed Tuesday’s City Council meeting, here are some of the highlights. A video of the meeting in its entirety is posted on

Council accepts Person Field offer
Person Field
City Council accepted the School District’s offer to buy the District’s half of Person Field and all of Bryan Field for $750,00. City and school officials had been trying to work out a deal in which the School District would sell the City its half of Person Field. The City owns the other half. The price tag for Person Field is $650,000. Bryan Field was appraised at $350,000, but the District offered to sell both for $750,000.  The City asked that Bryan Field be part of the deal.

New development moves forward
Council approved the final plat document for a 46-lot residential and commercial development at West Pinegrove Drive and Canfield Avenue. The development is a re-plat of the original Cottage Grove subdivision that was approved in 2007 but was never populated. That plan called for 21 residential and 8 commercial lots. The Council’s approval allows for the sale and development of all of the lots in the expanded development.

Water rate increase passes
Following a public hearing, City Council passed an increase in water rates. Starting in March, existing customers will see a modest rate increase of 2.50 percent. That increase will rise to 4.90 percent in 2014 and hold steady each year until 2018. New water users will see an increase in capitalization fees. Even with the increase, Coeur d’Alene has among the lowest water rates compared to other nearby cities. The Water Department relies on user fees to fund all of its operations and does not receive funding from taxes. The increase in fees will support project costs that are part of the department’s Capital Improvement Plan over the next six years.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Bid opening for McEuen Park design project set for March

The McEuen Park design is complete. The project is out for bids with a bid opening scheduled for 10 a.m. March 5 in the old City Council Chambers. Council will approve the contract at a special meeting March 7 at 5 p.m. in the Community Room at the library. Both meetings are open to the public. The Council meeting will be televised. Work is expected to begin in March. Expect Front Avenue to be closed from March to November.

City Council meets tonight

City Council meets 6 p.m. tonight at the Public Library. If you can't make the meeting, watch it live on Channel 19. View the agenda here.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Free Street Trees

The City of Coeur d'Alene has announced the availability of free street trees for new neighborhoods. The trees are available to homeowners or residents who are willing to provide care for the young street trees. Interested residents should contact the Urban Forestry division of the Coeur d'Alene Parks Department to sign up for a street tree. There are a limited number of trees and they will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Funding for the trees has come from a street tree fee collected on residential building permits. The owners of the homes whose street tree fees have been forfeited are the first choice for using these funds. The city has already contacted those property owners regarding the planting program. However, there are still some trees unclaimed. These street trees are now being offered to any homeowner who is willing to make sure the trees are watered and protected from string trimmers and mowers.

The tree species still available are honeylocust, London planetree, white ash, and black tupelo. The trees will be planted by contract tree planting crews in May. Since there are a limited number of trees, interested homeowners are encouraged to reply as soon as possible. More information and a response form are available on-line at . You can also send an email to, or call the Urban Forestry division of the Parks Department at 769-2266.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Specialized Needs Recreation Presents Camp Allstars "School Day Off Day Camp"

Specialized Needs Recreation (SNR) is holding Camp All-Stars “School Day Off” Day Camp on Monday, February 18th, at the SNR facility in Coeur d’Alene (3700 N. Government Way, Suite I and J). Don’t be bored on your school day off come and have a day full of friends and fun!

Camp All-Stars Day Camps are filled with 6 hours of meaningful and memorable activities such as community outings, crafts, and games. Camp will be held from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. The cost is $15.00 for the day. There are scholarships available for those who qualify.

For those of you coming from the Post Falls area, we provide transportation from the Trading Company. Morning pick up will be at 8:30 am and afternoon drop offs will be at 3:30 pm. Campers coming from the Coeur d’Alene/Hayden area will meet at the SNR facility at 9:00 am and will need to be picked up by 3:00 pm. Please bring a sack lunch and dress warm. Limited space is available so sign up today. Pre-registration is required.  Unfortunately, SNR is not able to provide 1:1 assistance but individuals who require 1:1 assistance are still encouraged to join us with their care provider or assistant.

Specialized Needs Recreation also offers summer, winter, and spring break day camps as well as school day off throughout the year. If you would like more information about Camp All-Stars or would like to register your child for camp, or if you are interested in volunteering please call Angie Goucher at 755-6781 or e-mail

Specialized Needs Recreation is a non-profit organization that provides recreational opportunities for youth and adults who have developmental disabilities. Visit us at our website

City Hall Closed for Presidents’ Day

On Monday, February 18, 2013, Coeur d’Alene City Hall will be closed for the Presidents’ Day holiday. Other city offices and facilities will be closed as well. Emergency calls for Police, Fire, and Streets can be made by dialing 9-1-1. Other city facilities have emergency numbers and can be reached if the need arises: Sewer Back-up 769-2241 and Water 755-9729.

City Hall and other city facilities will open Tuesday, February 19th, at 8:00 a.m. For more information, please call 769-2300.

Coeur d’Alene Hosts Development Forum on February 28th

The City of Coeur d’Alene will host a Development Forum on Thursday, February 28th, at 11:30 a.m., in the Coeur d’Alene Library Community Room.

One of the City’s most important goals is to provide excellent customer service. The development process engages many of its customers in activities including, but not limited to, zoning, platting, inspections, and permit approvals. The city hopes to make the development process more streamlined, consistent, and easy to understand.

Members of the development community including contractors, developers, engineers, architects, planners, and consultants are invited to attend the forum. Please RSVP your attendance to Amy Ferguson, or 666-5754.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Library Closed for Presidents' Day

     The Coeur d'Alene Public Library will be closed Monday, Feb. 18, for Presidents' Day. Regular hours resume Tuesday at 10 a.m.
     Even when the library is closed you can access useful online resources, place holds, download e-books and e-audiobooks, and check on items in your library card account through the library website:
   Some online resources (the links on the left side of the website homepage) require a user name and/or password to use. These can be obtained by calling 208-769-2315 or visiting the library during open hours.

Have a Blind Date at the Library

Visit the Coeur d'Alene Public Library, 702 E. Front Ave., for a "Blind Date With a Book." Check out the display near the Check Out Desk and discover a hidden treasure. The titles and authors are covered up on these items but there is just enough information to get you interested.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

‘Alice the Musical’ Cast Visiting Library

     Cast members from the Christian Youth Theater (CYT) production of  “Alice the Musical, a version of  “Alice in Wonderland,” will visit the Coeur d’Alene Public Library for programs on Wednesday, Feb. 13.
      The CYT is presenting the production Feb. 22 through March 3 at the Kroc Center. Cast members will visit the Seagraves Children’s Library, on the lower level at 702 E. Front Ave., for the 1 p.m. preschool programs and for school age children at 4 p.m. to read a story and sing songs.
       No registration is required for the free program.
       Children under 6 visiting the library need to be supervised by an adult or a person who is at least 14 even during programs. Children ages 6-9 should be accompanied by someone who is at least 14 who will remain in the building.

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, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m./Saturday and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. For regular updates follow the library on Facebook and Twitter.

Library Writers Competition 25 Years Old

The 25th annual Writers Competition at the Coeur d’Alene Public Library has begun.
Entry forms and rules are available at the library, 702 E. Front Ave., or can be downloaded from the library website, The web entry forms can be found under the “About Us” link and are listed under “Annual Events.”
Entrants can also receive entry forms and rules by mail by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Writers Competition, Cd’A Public Library, 702 E. Front Ave., Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814.
Also available at the library and online is guide to creating an entry: “What Should a Writers Competition Entry Look Like?” This guide shows how to format the entry and has other tips for making it more readable for the judges.
Writers ages 6 to adult can submit up to two entries of fiction and nonfiction prose – two fiction pieces, two nonfiction or one in each category – up to 2,000 words. There is not a category for poetry. Entries must not have been previously published.                                                                             
The deadline for entries is March 31.
The entries are judged by professional writers, editors, and educators who volunteer their time.
Winners will be announced and cash prizes are awarded in each category and age group at a ceremony in May hosted by the Friends of the Coeur d’Alene Public Library. Prizes are $100 for first place, $50 for second and $25 for third.
Former Library Director Julie Meier began the competition more than 25 years ago with the goal of discovering great writers in our midst, to provide young writers an outlet for their work, and to encourage excellence in writing.
Each year all entries in the competition – not only the winners – are included in professionally bound volumes added to the library’s collection. These volumes can be reviewed in the Nelson Memorial Room at the library.

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, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m./Saturday and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. For regular updates follow the library on Facebook and Twitter.