May 24, 2011

From Friends of McEuen:

Filed under: General — mary @ 8:00 am

WE NEED your help!  Attend this meeting and bring your friends and like minded supporters…Car pool to the meeting at Woodland Tuesday May 24th at 6 pm. 

We will have signs ready at the door….Public Vote….Save the Boat Launch…Save the Ball Fields….Save the small town charm….Save the $$$$

To everyone who plans to speak at the council meeting..ASK THE COUNCIL TO NOT APPROVE THE PLAN AS IS…TABLE IT AND PUT IT TO AN “ADVISORY” PUBLIC VOTE!

This is the MOST important meeting yet.  The council will vote Yes or No on the proposed plan.  Spread the word!  Forward this email!

— from Rita Sims-Snyder & Julie Clark, Friends of McEuen

“McEuen is a Gem…Polish it Don’t Demolish It”

Take the Friends of McEuen Survey


  1. Here’s another note from Friends of McEuen:

    As a sign of solidarity….Friends of McEuen wear white tonight.
    See you at Woodland school.
    We will be there early with signs for you at the door.
    PLEASE arrive early and bring 10 friends!
    Email, call & text everyone you know.

    We must pack the room…the meeting will NOT be televised.

    Comment by mary — May 24, 2011 @ 8:06 am

  2. I’ll be there!

    Comment by mary — May 24, 2011 @ 8:07 am

  3. Someone might want to contact the Legion Baseball guys. Yesterday there were no less than 60 young people playing on McEuen.
    Legion tryouts. Looks like it could be a rain out today perhaps they might want to come to the meeting instead.
    Potential for four teams from CDA this year.

    Comment by Eric — May 24, 2011 @ 9:34 am

  4. Good thought, Eric. I think they have been contacted. Does it seem odd to you that the city claims the baseball fields are under-utilized, but then they talk about a possible new, bigger, regional ball field up on 15th?

    Comment by mary — May 24, 2011 @ 10:21 am

  5. Yeah, starting about 3 weeks ago there have been not only Baseball teams using the BB field but softball games every week night except maybe Monday 6:15 to 10 oclock. Sure is a lot of people coming and going.

    I suppose the question then is, would the area be used more if it were different? Maybe, but I believe that it could be all that the McSquad team wants and keep the “Americana” feel at the same time. I really do.
    There is a lot of space there that is under utilized right now that should be revamped prior to anything gigantic. The space where the tennis court used to be from the parking lot to the library?
    Fix the bathrooms and make a lovely walkway right there. I know, thats where the parking structure is going.
    I don’t know

    Comment by Eric — May 24, 2011 @ 10:31 am

  6. My opinion is well known and need not be repeated. I hope there are enough people tonight to roar the socks off the council. Do I think it will help? World peace has a better chance. Those arrogant self involved dunder heads have had their minds made up since the get go. This has been long decided. Some of the more ridiculous elements will be dropped. IMO, these elements were exactly for the purpose of saying”we listened to you”. But as sure as the earth revolves, this project will go forward. The dictator Bloem has spoken… with their heads all those who disagree with Mayor Despot!

    Comment by rochereau — May 24, 2011 @ 3:10 pm

  7. I understand your fatalistic view of this, Rochereau, but what would happen if we all just gave up and stayed home?

    Comment by mary — May 24, 2011 @ 3:20 pm

  8. Good question, Mary. We would be able to finish watching the Seattle Mariners play baseball. We could have a normal dinner time with family. We could take a walk at dusk or ride our bikes in the rain. We could cuddle up with a loved one and watch a romantic movie. We could work on our hobby in the garage or basement or shop be it tying flies, reloading ammunition, sanding a new deck on the boat or remodeling a room.

    But being responsible community conscious citizens we will attend the special meeting prepared just for us and watch our elected representatives make a decision on a project that we helped formulate. Or not.

    Comment by Gary Ingram — May 24, 2011 @ 4:04 pm

  9. Mary, I didn’t say stay home and give up. I did say, show up and roar their socks off. Followed by what likely will happen. Do I hope I’m wrong? You betcha!!

    Comment by rochereau — May 24, 2011 @ 4:07 pm

  10. A former employee said this afternoon that he is delighted not to be working for the City Mayor and Council because of their demand to have projects meet their wishes rather than what is the right thing.

    This is a perfect example why the city choose employees to make up the McEuen Team because the Mayor and Council can maitain control over the project.

    Comment by LTR — May 24, 2011 @ 5:18 pm

  11. My most sincere thank you goes to Ron Edinger for standing up for the people once again. His eloquent statement reflected his thoughts as well as thoughts of so very many in the community who have spoken with him.

    Comment by Susie Snedaker — May 24, 2011 @ 11:29 pm

  12. The rest of you brown noser on city council, please take a look at a REAL man of honor. Thank you Ron Edinger.

    Comment by concerned citizen — May 25, 2011 @ 6:57 am

  13. Now that it is all over but the shoutin’, I’d like to state to those of you in opposition, who took the time and incurred the expense to be heard, that you have advanced the notion of participatory democracy, which at its roots begins at this lowest level of government.

    Whereas I know many of you are angry, maybe even disenfranchised because of this outcome, and some may use this issue to pursue higher office, you have excercised your right to free speech, as guaranteed by our Founding Fathers.

    Thank God we live in such a place, where everyone who engages in civil discourse can, and will be, heard. Of course, we’ll never all agree on the course of action, nor should we. Only with dissent can the best outcome be achieved.

    I would hope, and expect no less, that you’ll remain a part of the civil discussion as the individual parts of the plan are developed.

    Comment by JohnA — May 25, 2011 @ 9:10 am

  14. See image

    Comment by justinian — May 25, 2011 @ 10:09 am

  15. If this project does proceed anyone care to bet that it will now contain a memorial garden to Duanes parents?

    Comment by Wallypog — May 25, 2011 @ 10:22 am

  16. JohnA said that those of us who attended last night’s meeting have “advanced the notion of participatory democracy”. Problem is, John, that the mayor and council DID NOT advance this same notion. With the exception of Ron and a few distortions by Kennedy, the rest of them sat there silent. They chose NOT to second most of Ron’s motions to bring the most contentious issues to open discussion by the council.

    Because they would not second Ron’s motions, we, the public, did not get to hear our elected officials openly talk with each other about why the boat launch and ball field should go; we didn’t get to hear them discuss why this major historic, cultural and financial project should not be put to a public advisory vote.

    Our city council chose silence and did not participate in our democracy.

    Comment by mary — May 25, 2011 @ 10:33 am

  17. Letters to the editor, rhetoric, blogs, signs, petitions, all to no avail. Dan said it most succinctly…there will be no changes until all are voted out of office. And I would add, not replaced by hand picked candidates a la the Dixie Reed replacement.

    JohnA…am I angry, oh yes. I’m angry at the arrogance and hubris once again shown by the mayor and her faithful shadows. I’m angry at this obscene expenditure at this time of economic crisis. I’m angry because the citizens are crushed under the yoke of petty dictatorship and self interest. I’m angry because those rights you lauded in your post, actually do not exist. There was no democratic process here. It was all for show and we all knew just how it would turn out.

    I fully expect to see Bloem walking Sherman with one hand tucked into her shirt.

    Comment by rochereau — May 25, 2011 @ 12:04 pm

  18. “I fully expect to see Bloem walking Sherman with one hand tucked into her shirt.”

    With luck, walking the perp walk in chains and an orange jump suit shortly thereafter.

    Comment by justinian — May 25, 2011 @ 1:26 pm

  19. Sad Outcome, as it was anything but democratic, except for Ron Edinger. (Thank you Ron). The people were not heard because the officials were not listening. the did not hear that this can be a compromise and then everybody would be happy and save some big money. Come on, we all know that there are other big money forces silently behind the push. Shame on them !

    Comment by Jullee — May 25, 2011 @ 2:04 pm

  20. Shame on those who, by not bothering to vote, gave us this group.

    Comment by rochereau — May 25, 2011 @ 3:12 pm

  21. I noted that Deanna came prepared with a lengthy motion. That indicates to me that she had no intention of listening to any concerns the public brought forth.

    Comment by Susie Snedaker — May 25, 2011 @ 9:20 pm

  22. And why was it so necessary to get this dream off the table now and into motion? Don’t ever overlook the bronze effect. There will be changes on the council by the end of this year, and names to be engraved must be sent to the foundry soon, I wouldst think.

    Comment by Gary Ingram — May 25, 2011 @ 10:09 pm

  23. The city is wise to move ahead now, Gary, for two reasons. Low interest rates and hungry contractors. That is a powerful, and very rare, mix, which means the city can leverage the bonding capacity of LCDC to get the most projects off the ground right away. With just 11 years left in the Lake District, time was always of the essence. It has been made more so with the current economic and market conditions.

    I think we’ll see the Front Street improvements, parking facilities and green space enhancements first, because the city knows they will make the most immediate impact on the usability of the area. I also think by moving boat trailer parking away from the launch, which has been discussed for many years, there will be even less use of that facility than there is now, making it less of an issue when an alternate site is developed.

    Meanwhile, I agree there will be changes on the Council this year, but only because there will be at least one open seat. In fact, I think over time most people will see McEuen as the most significant achievement of this Council. I know that is not a popular sentiment on this site, but as I look back at the library and Kroc Center achievements, I view McEuen Field as yet another instance of a very public inquisition becoming a beloved addition to the city. At the same time, I support your right to question the process, because as I stated earlier, pubilc involvement is the best way to flush out the particulars of an issue, and I think that was achieved on this one.

    Comment by JohnA — May 26, 2011 @ 5:40 am

  24. When people would say “You can SAVE 25% if you buy today” my father would reply with “I’ll save 100% if I do not.”

    JohnA, in other words, “A win is a win no matter the cost.” Or how about this one JohnA, “The end justifies the means.”

    Again JohnA, you are only as strong as you weakest link therefore, you are only as rich as the majority of the taxpayers. Most in this area make under $30,000 a year and all you can do is TAKE MORE!

    I truly hope the people of this area vote out every seat possible next election. Then I hope those people are wise enough to give the corporate welfare LCDC, berns and company the boot.

    Comment by concerned citizen — May 26, 2011 @ 6:51 am

  25. CC, to give ‘LCDC…the boot’ would require the city to absorb all of their debt. That would require a bond election and 2/3 approval. Do you want CDA residents to cover the burden. I wouldn’t want to suggest that if I were on the Council.

    Meanwhile, you can argue all you want about spending money, but that’s been in the City’s plans since 1997. Why didn’t you complain about it then? The City is now at the point they can make the changes to McEuen without raising taxes. It’s like saving up for a house and finally having the funds to get it done. Very prudent, if you ask me (and even if you don’t ask me.)

    Comment by JohnA — May 26, 2011 @ 10:19 am

  26. In other words CC the LCDC has encumbered you and all the cities taxpayers to a hefty volume of debt leveraged against their future increment tax income. They do not pay as they go, they get loans (from certain banks, wink, wink) to conduct their business. So dissolve the LCDC and no doubt those loans would be called ‘due and payable’ as the security mechanism would be in clear jeopardy. Of course the city could default on those loans and maybe Obama would demand a rework of our debt load?

    Comment by Wallypog — May 26, 2011 @ 11:28 am

  27. Or, Wally, maybe because of the city’s investment in its infrastructure, private investment downtown increases as more traffic means more business. We saw what that investment at Riverstone meant, $200 million in new valuation since 1997.

    And, then, maybe with the increase in tax increment LCDC is able to retire all debts sooner, releasing those funds to taxing entities earlier than expected.

    That’s a good investment on the city’s part. Meanwhile, residents and tourists alike will have an incredible area to use year-round, and it didn’t cost them a penny.

    Comment by JohnA — May 26, 2011 @ 11:52 am

  28. Excellent points John, and honestly, in theory, that’s how it is supposed to work.
    Saddly humans can’t be completely trusted and this system while noble can be manipulated by indaviduals to make just a little extra money on the side.

    Comment by Eric — May 26, 2011 @ 12:24 pm

  29. Or, there could be some level of balance between what is best for speculative investment and what a city and its residents require. These are not routine times. Money, cash flow, even increment taxation are all up for grabs and the Mayor and the LCDC are steaming full-on rather like the Titanic. It works for those who win ‘come what may’ but not for everyone. Reckless is the best adjective. Spendthrift a worthy characterization.

    Comment by Wallypog — May 26, 2011 @ 1:11 pm

  30. Again JohnA, twist twist twist. No taxes shall be approved bt THIS council. So what happens after the next election and most of THIS council is gone?

    And I said to BOOT the LCDC as in no more developer wealfare projects. You tried to twist my meaning as to CLOSE the districts oh master of the twist.

    Comment by concerned citizen — May 26, 2011 @ 6:51 pm

  31. concerned citizen,

    Given the deceptions practiced by this mayor and council, I am unwilling to accept any assurances they offer.

    Comment by Bill — May 26, 2011 @ 7:33 pm

  32. Come on, CC, resolutions are binding on the government, not the Councilmembers who approve them.

    Wally, again, the city has the funds to move ahead, without taxing anyone. That’s a good thing, probably the most misunderstood thing, but a very good thing.

    Comment by JohnA — May 26, 2011 @ 7:59 pm

  33. Come on JohnA, no taxes for the library, the Kroc Center, the old library being sold, etc. Do you know how to tell if this city council is lying? Their lips will be moving.

    Comment by concerned citizen — May 27, 2011 @ 6:43 am

  34. JohnA….. Really? Does CdA have $45 million sitting in a bank account somewhere? You said it yourself. The LCDC BORROWS the $$$$$ leveraged against future PROPERTY tax revenues. CdA does not have the money and if it should need the $$$$ for any emergency it won’t be there.

    Comment by Wallypog — May 27, 2011 @ 7:20 am

  35. Wally, LCDC has the future value of around $11 million in promised tax revenue and that’s as good as money in the bank. Sure, they could spend a million a year for the next eleven years and not borrow the money. But, at about a 4% interest rate they’ll likely get on the bonds, why would they do that? That would be like adding one room at a time to build your house. Did you do that?

    Two points make it a good time to borrow: the cost of construction will never be lower, nor will the cost to borrow. The costs become a sure thing by building now, and will lure a boatload of investors in the sure thing for repayment. Meanwhile residents get to use the improvements now, rather than waiting for them one at a time over the next eleven years.

    Whether you agree with the project or not, borrowing the money makes sense, and you know it.

    Comment by JohnA — May 27, 2011 @ 8:36 am

  36. borrow, barrow, barrow—- spend, spend, spend, that’s the problem with government and all the bureaucrats for the past 40 years and that’s the mentality that has made the US “pretty” but broke and as most everyone can see, that has mentality has filtered all the way down to the local level (see comment 35) to the point where the citizens have said “enough is enough.”

    Comment by Ancientemplar — May 27, 2011 @ 8:58 am

  37. Ancient, no it is ‘invest, invest, invest’ for ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’.

    Don’t think for a minute that people would be locating here if CDA hadn’t invested in its dead downtown, even deader Midtown and On-life support NW Boulevard. The investment has paid off and will continue to pay off. At the same time we’ve got a library and community center to enjoy today, and an ed corridor and waterfront park tomorrow.

    If you’ve had enough, move to someplace that doesn’t care if it its downtown is dead.

    Comment by JohnA — May 27, 2011 @ 9:34 am

  38. JOBS JohnA? What jobs? $3.35 an hour oh PLUS tips service jobs? Yeah, that will support a community. No sir, it is about those in power trying to capitalize on the backs of the very people that these disgustingly low wage jobs are for.

    Comment by concerned citizen — May 27, 2011 @ 10:34 am

  39. You also wanna talk about a dead downtown? Why dont you put some rent control on these slumlords that double business rents just to get a tennant out. Or how about reducing business tax to ATTRACT more business. No JohnA, it is not about doing the right thing. It is about EASY money no matter WHO it hurts.

    Comment by concerned citizen — May 27, 2011 @ 10:40 am

  40. John A.

    I have lived here since the summer of 1969. Coeur d’Alene has always grown by at least 3% or more each year prior to the new library and Kroc center being built. People move here to raise their families in a safer and friendly environment, enjoying all the activities our beautiful mountains provide including the rivers and lakes. As the area continues to grow we lose more access.

    The downtown area suffered in the 70’s and still suffers today. So you statement “Don’t think for a minute that people would be locating here if CDA hadn’t invested in its dead downtown” doesn’t speak truth.

    FACT: The library was placed downtown to attract people to live in the downtown core. Those same people hopefully will spend some of their money downtown to support its local business.

    FACT: Coeur d’Alene has more than doubled in size since I have lived here.

    Comment by LTR — May 27, 2011 @ 1:43 pm

  41. John A. Riverstone ? really ? Last I heard they are in forecloseure and can not pay the taxes.

    Comment by Jullee — May 27, 2011 @ 2:53 pm

  42. Downtown…just one long outdoor bar…

    Comment by Jullee — May 27, 2011 @ 2:56 pm

  43. Riverstone will be OK, Jullee. It hit a rough patch after 9/11 also and went on to grow into a viable development.

    LTR, when my family moved back to north Idaho in 1963 CDA’s population was about 10,000. It’s now 44,000. That growth has come about not because of the plethora of jobs but because people want to retire to this beautiful place. Those retirees bring a ton of dollars to businesses, which use those dollars to hire more people. Too, when their out-of-state visitors see the place, they take that message back to their communities, making it easier for a Jobs Plus to recruit the good jobs here. It all begins with the revitalization of a city’s downtown core. It has happened all over the country, in big towns like Portland and Baltimore to smaller towns like CDA.

    This Council has gone back to the roots of what draws people (and jobs) to north Idaho, having endorced the Ed Corridor and McEuen Field updates. The residual affect will be felt for years and years.

    Comment by JohnA — May 27, 2011 @ 3:18 pm

  44. “It hit a rough patch after 9/11 also and went on to grow into a viable development.” Blame it on Bush? viable????????????????

    “That growth has come about not because of the plethora of jobs but because people want to retire to this beautiful place. Those retirees bring a ton of dollars to businesses, which use those dollars to hire more people.” $3.25/hr jobs to service the retirees.

    The “NEW” core sure hasn’t filled the vacancies downtown and McPark won’t either.
    Nice try John.

    Spend, spend, spend John “invest, invest, invest” is the party line.

    Comment by Ancientemplar — May 27, 2011 @ 5:03 pm

  45. Spending to me would be if the Council were building monuments to themselves, or worse yet, acting like its neighbor cities and building facny new city halls for themselves. This Council is making investments in infrastructure that benefit the masses, and that investment has shown over the years to have a great return.

    Next time you see someone from Jobs Plus, ask them what CDA has brought to the table to make their recruitment easier. We’re talking about career jobs here, and hundreds of them over the years. So, ask them and please report back. Thanks.

    Comment by JohnA — May 27, 2011 @ 5:39 pm

  46. Hundreds over the years. Yet there are TENS of thousands of people in just CdA alone. Now lets add Dalton Gardens, Hayden, Hayden Lake, Post Falls, Athol, etc. And what is the average pay of these “hundreds of jobs over the years”?

    Comment by concerned citizen — May 27, 2011 @ 8:46 pm

  47. I forgot Rathdrum, Twin Lakes, Spirit Lake and again etc. not to mention the invitation of THOUSANDS more residents per year. So your “hundreds of jobs” per year does not amount to squat.

    Comment by concerned citizen — May 27, 2011 @ 8:55 pm

  48. I meant over the years. Not per year. My bad.

    Comment by concerned citizen — May 27, 2011 @ 8:56 pm

  49. John A:

    I can understand your statement “That growth has come about not because of the plethora of jobs but because people want to retire to this beautiful place”.

    Yes, growth of retirees and young families happens because of the beauty the community and surrounding areas has to offer even without spending $$$$$$$ on beauty projects.

    Comment by LTR — May 28, 2011 @ 9:35 am

  50. I would argue, quite strongly, that the veneer of tasteless chintz applied to this town is actually a turn-off for those who would consider this a retirement area. It has destroyed the once-charming character of this town. Small town egos and individuals with small town chips on their shoulders cannot begin to understand what multimillionaires desire in a resort destination.

    Comment by Dan — May 28, 2011 @ 9:45 am

  51. With all due respect, Dan, there was nothing charming about downtown CDA in the late 1980s. The Silver Lake Mall had sucked all of the remaining life out of downtown, including Pennys. As locals said, you couldn’t buy a shirt downtown anymore. Even Hagadone saw the trend and turned his Plaza Shops (where Pennys used to be) inward and toward the Resort rather than acknowledge he was part of that dead area.

    By the early ’90s when I became Finance Director, it was apparent that something needed to be done to remake downtown. So the property owners assessed themselves a very high LID for street improvements, including the current niceties on Sherman and Lakeside from 1st to 8th. We also did away with metered parking downtown and created the two-hour free thing to discourage people to hogging the street all day and get a better flow of traffic.

    That was a start. But it was not enough. The City needed a draw to downtown so people would want to live there. Maybe we recognized the new urban millionaire that could be attracted (I don’t have to tell you about the craze) or the $8 trillion in wealth about to flow from our Dad’s generation to us, but clearly downtown urban living was part of the idea. So began the process to identify a plan, including raising building height limitations, and later on the urban renewal plan. Included in that plan, as you know, were improvements to ‘public spaces’, which meant the City planned to upgrade anything public in the district. Clearly, McEuen Field was intended in that plan. We even had conceptual drawings from City Planner Dave Yadon, which are amazingly similar to what subsequent designs of McEuen have entailed (sans the parking facility.)

    The result of this 25 year plan has been significant. People are drawn downtown and many choose to live there. And, not just in the high rise condos but all throughout the area. I remember my ex used her settlement to buy a house on 14th and Mullan, which she sold for a $108,000 gain four years later. Downtown changes brought new life to the whole district, and to areas nearby.

    The biggest sign to me that downtown is coming back came this weekend. With ‘Splash’ Hagadone has transformed the Plaze Shops to reach out to Sherman Avenue, and no longer to reject it. There is an energy in the coffee shops, boutiques, art galleries and yes, even the night life, that was not there when we began this process.

    The upgrade to McEuen Field is simply the next step in the process, one that has been delayed as the library and Kroc Center rightfully took center stage.

    I apologize for the Sunday morning history lesson, but sometimes the best way to see the future is to look at our past.

    Comment by JohnA — May 29, 2011 @ 8:45 am

  52. No need to beg for respect, John, because I don’t feel disrespected. On the other hand, the results of the LCDC’s efforts downtown are sincerely questionable. The vacancy rate today is at or above what it was in 1997. The main businesses downtown are bars that cater primarily to young rowdies from Washington State. I’ve heard from people who live downtown who say there is no sleep to be had, even after 2:00 AM when the bars supposedly close. It’s a nightmare. Is that the kind of environment retirees are desiring?

    Have you ever been to a retirement resort? Do you know what that class of people is looking for? If that’s who you truly wanted to attract, then it would have been useful, if not necessary, to put that information into the 1997 plan you wrote. I’ve read the plan many times, and such information or a study or references are completely missing. An oversight? Or just another case of the status quo crowd re-writing history to suit their ever-erratic “vision” for this place?

    Comment by Dan — May 29, 2011 @ 1:01 pm

  53. There are some valid points in what both JohnA and Dan are saying. Downtown CdA is currently in a Jekyll and Hyde mode. During the day it is very nice with appealing shops, art galleries,coffee shops and eating spots. But it transforms after 10 o clock and especially after midnight into something that is unappealing to most. Not to say that there are a a majority of bad people down there after 10. But there are enough bad apples that makes it an environment that makes people want to avoid it. If my wife and I take a late night weekend walk we avoid the north side of Sherman, that’s for sure.

    Comment by SteveW — May 29, 2011 @ 2:49 pm

  54. Dan, the vacancy rate in 1997 was nearly 40%. It is not that high now.

    As for the plan, the state law did not then nor does it now require project specificity, just a general description of the deterioration and the means the city will take to correct it. Wendy Hague and I wrote it to save the city $50,000, and the result was the best an attorney and an accountant could possibly provide, I’m afraid.

    As for the downtown the plan was to upgrade McEuen to attract locals to the waterfront, since there were few businesses to do that. I see that as still in the plans: build an attractive place for families and friends to meet, with attractions that appeal to more than the late night crowd. As far as the latter, I think the City needs to find a way to curb the behavior of a few to make it a better place for everyone else. I’m not in LE so I’m not sure what that is but something needs to happen sooner than later.

    Comment by JohnA — May 29, 2011 @ 4:14 pm

  55. I know that CDA PD has made it a priority to add more patrols to downtown to curb these few unruly folks. The effort is there. I walked the boardwalk today and saw alot of fresh graffiti which is disappointing. I dont think this stems from the bar crowd but rather a younger group of undesirables. The only awswer may be to add more foot patrols after dark.

    Comment by SteveW — May 29, 2011 @ 4:33 pm

  56. I would offer that the Sommers (see today’s Press) have done more to revitalize downtown using their own money, effort, and love than the LCDC has done with its millions of taxpayers dollars. To think that revitalizing downtown is the job of the government, is to believe more in the government than its citizens. I believe with all my soul that such a posture is wrong, and is ruining this city and this country.

    Imagine how much more could be done downtown if those businesses weren’t paying such high property taxes thanks to the LCDC!

    Comment by Dan — May 29, 2011 @ 4:50 pm

  57. Yes Dan, that was an excellent piece. The Sommers are awesome people that think of others and the effect they have on others. They are TRUE community members. They understand that ALL members of the community deserve respect and not just the chosen few. They restore, build first class, pay more than most, etc. They know the difference between quality and quantity. They would never consider over extending themselves to the detriment of others unlike a lot of the so called “investors” in this town.

    Comment by concerned citizen — May 29, 2011 @ 6:17 pm

  58. JohnA, the reason business moved/moves out of the downtown is the downtown building owners (businessmen?) double the rent when times are good and people move out when they cannot afford the rent when times are bad. Most of the building owners have also over extended themselves to the point that they cannot even maintain their, investment?

    Comment by concerned citizen — May 29, 2011 @ 6:37 pm

  59. I love when people say a FEW to try and take the focus on the real problem. Typical CdA tactic by those that do not live in the downtown core. It is a HECK of a lot more than a few and it starts long before midnight. BTW, college students run in gangs that tag as well. Heck, check with the sheriffs dept and see how old their oldest gang member in jail is. Again, typical of CdA, lame it on the kids. May I suggest playing classical music from the roof tops —– again since the youth are uncultured? This town has always gone for the easy buck and alcohol and slums are it.

    Comment by concerned citizen — May 29, 2011 @ 6:47 pm

  60. CC, Years ago, the downtown association installed very nice speakers from the roof of the Elder Bldg. (now renamed the Dingle Bldg.) to play classical music to drive away those pesky youngsters cruising Sherman. They forgot, however, that roof access was readily available via the fire escape at the rear of the building. Need I add that the speakers vanished?

    Comment by Susie Snedaker — May 29, 2011 @ 10:54 pm

  61. Sisie, that is why I threw the “—again” in there. These people think the young around here are culturally inept and do not realize that these same young ARE going to be running to world. Such a FINE example they are setting.

    Comment by concerned citizen — May 30, 2011 @ 7:36 am

  62. Susie, Sorry for misspelling your name. I just started on my first cup o coffeeeeeeeeee. lol

    Comment by concerned citizen — May 30, 2011 @ 7:37 am

  63. Dan, CDA’s urban renewal effort was originally based on the successful model in Portland, Oregon, the Portland Development Commission (PDC.) Their Downtown Waterfront URD, formed in 1974, had been a tremendous example upon which to base our plan. Although our plan was non-specific upon adoption in 1997, we knew we could implement it based on Portland’s model without tying our hands with initial specificity. So, after the URD’s creation the entire URA (not yet known as LCDC) traveled to Portland to see first hand their success. Wendy Hague, Dave Yadon and I accompanied them to view the model.

    Legislation passed in the previous few years had limited URD increment but that hadn’t stopped the vision that continues today. When you look at the before and after in the Waterfront URD you’ll see a devotion to improving public spaces, with many elements being captured in LCDC’s vision for our downtown waterfront. From a very interesting historical view of the PDC by Craig Wollner from Portland State, the entirety of which can be found on page 18:

    “Among many projects created in the district, urban renewal dollars supported new public open space in the construction of Pioneer Courthouse Square and development of the former Harbor Drive into the Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park which allowed public access and family events along the west side of the Willamette River. Support also went to new development in the South Waterfront, called RiverPlace. The nationally acclaimed project
    included a mix of new housing, retail and office uses, a marina, hotel
    and fitness center and helped reclaim a former industrial area along
    the Willamette Riverfront. The Pioneer Place Project in the district is a significant example of PDC’s focus on a strong downtown core. The project was designed to respond to a need to revitalize the downtown in a systemic way. Businesses were hesitant to locate in the downtown because of an
    absence of services for customers and employees, and service businesses
    would not locate downtown because of a lack of customers. The PDC assembled and cleared land for the four block development and worked with the Rouse Company to build a retail and office complex. PDC maintained a high level of design control, and control over the identity and nature of business conducted by tenants of the project. The goal was to create a unique attractor that would draw members of the public downtown for shopping and recreation during the evenings and on weekends, to create a base of customers who would support service businesses downtown. The project is one of PDC’s more notable successes, both for economic activity on the premises
    and for the synergistic effects it achieved in the downtown business
    and retail market. Other major projects included three new parking garages supporting retail development and mass transit facilities, such as the expansion of the transit mall and improvements to Union Station. The district has helped generate a $618 million increase in assessed value since its formation.” The entire, facinating history of the PDC can be found at:

    The city of Portland was the first in Oregon (only the second in the nation, after Sacremento, CA) to grasp the benefits of urban renewal. The one area in which they’ve focused more attention than us is in public transit with their light rail and urban street car system. I’d like to see the city expand CityLink is a similar fashion but that can come later as the success of the District continues.

    In summary, CDA has been equally successful (some of you may say it’s been too successful) but the fact remains that with McEuen joining the library, Kroc Center and Ed Corridor, LCDC’s model will be the one that stands out in the region. I’m proud that I was part of it and I cannot wait to see what the final ten years will bring.

    Comment by JohnA — May 30, 2011 @ 1:08 pm

  64. Thanks for the history, John. I do agree with you: The LCDC model stands out, but I don’t agree with you on the reasons for why it stands out.

    Comment by Dan — May 30, 2011 @ 5:32 pm

  65. Urban renewal for a rural area? Hmm, I see the farms disappear to be replaced by tract housing. Then the nice tract homes are surrounded by low income tract homes. I see the heavy traffic, downtown drunkenness, and a government that stops listening to the will of the people. Great thing this urban renewal.

    How do we make the Resort look more awesome and popular and attract more millionaires? Frame the Resort on the right with the public beach, and on the left with a public waterfront park. Damn the dumb citizens who want to play baseball or launch their tiny boats.

    Urban renewal here = millionaire condos + water access only for resort slip owners + higher taxes and traffic for the masses.

    Comment by treadlightly — July 25, 2011 @ 8:32 am

  66. treadlightly,

    Urban renewal money, as it is dispensed in Coeur d’Alene and a few other places in Idaho, is like heroin or methamphetamine. The objective of those pushing it is to get people addicted and become obligated to the dealer. Many state legislators are addicted. Many local officials are addicted. And like most other addictions, one of its components is tolerance, the need to have more and more to achieve some minimum effect. As the money grows, it becomes easier and easier to buy politicians and judges, so the honest people have fewer places they can turn for remedy. Like any other addict whose dependency is growing, those addicted to urban renewal money will eventually stop looking for healthier, more lawful alternatives. Their life becomes more focused on simply getting the drug. No longer do they even care about attaining benevolent results for anyone but themselves and their cronies. The drug becomes the compelling objective. How often do we hear, “Urban renewal money is our only source of economic development?”

    Comment by Bill — July 25, 2011 @ 12:50 pm

  67. “Urban renewal money is our only source of economic development?”

    Popular catch-phrase of the small minded.

    Comment by Dan — July 25, 2011 @ 12:55 pm

  68. Bill,
    I am a simple layman. However, I do have common sense. I have often looked for a good definition of UR money. You nailed it right on the money and the apologists like JohnA are like an alcoholic or drug addict that is in denial to their addiction.

    Comment by concerned citizen — July 25, 2011 @ 5:40 pm

  69. concerned citizen,

    I’m in the same simple layman boat with you. There are other analogies that come to mind. A person who sprains an ankle may need to use a crutch for a short time to allow the sprain to heal. But if the person continues to use the crutch after the need for it has passed, the ankle may never heal properly and may, in fact, be weakened by atrophy. The municipality that abuses urban renewal through overuse and over-reliance may logically be stifling the ingenuity and imagination of the very people who could take the municipality far beyond what urban renewal handouts ever could.

    Comment by Bill — July 25, 2011 @ 7:11 pm

  70. Dan, we small minded people came up with a plan to deal with the dead downtown of the ’90s. We now have a new library no one could find a way to fund, a community center no one thought we could get with 5% of the cost, and jobs that exist only because of what we did.

    I’ll take the slight with pride. Thank you very much.

    Comment by JohnA — July 25, 2011 @ 7:21 pm

  71. Then you’re easily slighted. Do you walk around saying that Urban Renewal is the only economic development tool in Idaho? If so, then you are short sighted.

    Would downtown have fixed itself? I dunno. You offer no proof otherwise. And besides, the majority of the LCDC’s pot went into Riverstone, not downtown.

    Comment by Dan — July 25, 2011 @ 8:54 pm

  72. The new taxes from Riverstone is what will mostly fund McEuen and the Ed Corridor, Dan. That is a fact, pure and simple. LCDC’s investment there drove the $200 million increase in value and there’s where the money has and will come from.

    And, yes, call me shortsighted but I’ve been in this business for 25 years and the only true enticement to attracting business in Idaho is urban renewal. Nothing else worked before, and nothing else has since, so that’s the proof for me.

    Comment by JohnA — July 25, 2011 @ 10:07 pm

  73. John, Have you forgotten the Don Miles’ Main Street concept that was adopted by the city? The program detailed the design of the downtown streets, lightposts, etc., as well as listing a number of businesses needed for the downtown to attract locals. The downtown improvements were implemented. It appeared that the city was satisfied with the new look and never bothered to complete the adopted concept. If I remember correctly, Sandi Bloem lectured other cities on the Main Street concept.

    Riverstone should be a marvel of contemporary master planning and design. Unfortunately, Riverstone is nothing more than a jumble of buildings stuck here and there. There is no apparent architectural design standard, and the result is less than stellar. The lighting is good, however. It does bring lcdc tax monies, however.

    Comment by Susie Snedaker — July 26, 2011 @ 7:49 am

  74. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the current taxes on Riverstone haven’t even paid off the LCDC’s obligation to Riverstone. That’s about $9,000,000 Riverstone has to generate in property taxes that goes back to developer Stone before it goes to the LCDC. It’s going to take some time, given that the condos built there have about a 98% vacancy rate.

    No, John, the LCDC has to borrow money to pay for McEuen. That’s why they had a meeting months ago with various banks to see how much they can be on the line for.

    Correction: They met with the banks to see how much the taxpayers of Coeur d’Alene are on the line for, because if the LCDC defaults, the City has to come up with the funds to pay off the banks — and the City has to pay off that debt within a year.

    Nice setup.

    So, yes, if you call that the “only economic development tool” then I think it’s limiting the huge potential this state has to draw business. There many things elected officials can do, both in City Hall and in Boise, to draw business here. This state, and specifically this City, is business hostile. That can change, but only if we change the city council and the legislature.

    By the way, the number one economic tool any government organization has to draw in business is to keep taxes low. How does the LCDC help with that?

    Comment by Dan — July 26, 2011 @ 7:55 am

  75. Susie, I rememeber the Main Street design concept. The city utilized LIDs to beautify Sherman and Lakeside and that certainly helped to make downtown look good. The next step the city chose in the mid-90s was to create the URD, which as we’ve seen worked.

    Dan, the city is borrowing the money so they can make the improvements now, rather than wait 11 years until they have the funds. That makes sense with rates at 3.8%, which will no doubt prove to be lower than the unknown construction costs in years to come. And, we’ll all get to use the improvements now, rather than wait 11 years.

    Meanwhile, it is still Riverstone that is the economic engine for funding, as much of the value increase in the Lake District has come in or near there.

    What is great is that LCDC knows it will have enough increment over the next 11 years to do the improvements, plus pay off its existing loans, so there is no risk of default. If there were, no invester would touch the financing. It’s a good model, Dan, even if you don’t like elements of it.

    Comment by JohnA — July 26, 2011 @ 8:53 am

  76. The Main Street plan was more than simple aesthetics. It was a plan for the revitalization of downtown. As I stated earlier, the city failed to follow the plan they adopted.

    Unfortunately, the administration seems only to embrace style over substance. I would offer the expensive iron fencing of the cemetaries that exist only on main streets while the remainder is utilitarian chain link fencing. The downtown has had only a miniscule effort spent on maintenance. Light standards and other metal poles are badly in need of painting and in some cases repair. The bricks are pedestrian hazards due to lack of maintenance. I could go on and on.

    It seems to me that developers who lack adequate capitalization have their hands out for public funds.

    Comment by Susie Snedaker — July 26, 2011 @ 11:35 am

  77. Well, I agree that it’s a good model, I’d just like to see it used to bring in jobs.

    Comment by Dan — July 26, 2011 @ 1:35 pm

  78. Dan, it brought in jobs. $3.35 an hour jobs while they sit on millions. REAL sense of community there.

    Comment by concerned citizen — July 26, 2011 @ 8:10 pm

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