We were pleased last week, at the noon meeting at the Iron Horse, to be joined by Coeur d’Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem, who gave us a very straightforward accounting of the city’s approach to improvements at McEuen Field – the park area which serves as gateway to treasured Tubbs Hill and the city’s namesake lake, and which contains beloved ballfields, playgrounds and open space.
Mayor Bloem said that the city is in the very early stages of opening up the discussion on what, if anything, should be done to the landmark park. The Mayor said that a process of planning, review, and open facilitated meetings is likely to begin soon. The Mayor emphasized that there are no preconceived notions, nor are there any binding plans adopted by any prior city council. She did note that the City had adopted seven “values” to which any renovation must abide – the most important of which would probably be that any changes would require “equal or better” replacement.
The Mayor described the changes that have occurred over the last 10 years that prompt some fresh consideration – for example, the higher density of residential living nearby, the popularity of the nearby library and its programming, and the increased demand for organized sports. The Mayor also discussed the difficult issue of parking. She wondered, as do we, whether so much parking is necessary on one of the most important and most beautiful locations in the city.
Indeed, we tend to think that the current site provides a considerable over-abundance of substantially under-priced parking. There are dozens of better locations for parking in the many under-utilized lots in the downtown area. Alternate locations for parking would not only free up gateway greenspace in the park, but would also funnel foot traffic through the downtown merchant corridor boosting business activity.
In any event, let the discussions begin! We look forward to participating in the conversations about McEuen Field and the immediate surroundings. We’re confident that our great downtown park can be even greater.
UPDATE: From the CDA webpage:
|On Thursday, March 25th, at 6:00 p.m., at the Lake City Senior Center, a public meeting/workshop will be held to gather input and ideas on McEuen Field and Front Avenue. MIG, a Portland-based land planning firm that worked on the Coeur d’Alene Parks Master Plan and the Education Corridor, will be hosting this workshop.The city is asking for citizens’ ideas on their favorite existing and possible future activities for McEuen Field, which has been the site of many varied types of recreation and leisure over the past 100 years. It will remain a public park and there may be improvements made to the park site.
In 2002, a revised park concept was submitted by the city-appointed Committee of Nine. At that time, a set of seven, value statements were adopted. Those value statements will be on display to confirm that they still apply to this waterfront park area. Front Avenue has been targeted for re-construction for the past several years and will be part of the larger, McEuen project discussion.
For more information, please call the Parks Department at 769-2252.