Blackwell Marina expansion moves forward

COEUR D'ALENE - The planned expansion of the Marina Yatch Club at Blackwell Island will get underway in a few months. It's a project that was delayed until early this year due to environmental concerns.

On a lazy summer day, the boat slips are surprisingly quiet at the Blackwell Island Marina. For at least five years Lowell Stevens had moored his boat there and has noticed the decades of wear and tear.

Hagadone plans to transform the outdated facility with a new design that calls for 420 boat slips and space for 128 personal watercraft.

?The slips in the new marina are going to be more organized,? Hagadone?s Craig Brosenne said.

Future additions could include retail and commercial space. The Coeur d?Alene Lakeshore Property Owners Association believes the project will boost the local economy.

?It?ll create not only construction jobs, but long-term jobs not only around the marina itself but some of the commercial opportunities with lease space,? Bret Bowers with the association said.

The work will mean dredging 46,000 cubic yards of sediment tainted with heavy metals from the channel. Questions over the environmental impact of the project remained a sticking point with the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agents until early this year.

?Some people might want to argue about having more boats on the lake, but this is a tourism economy,? Bowers said.

As the project moves forward, Stevens hopes bigger and better won?t mean being priced out.

?Anybody over sixty ought to get real big discounts,? Stevens said with a chuckle.

The Coeur d?Alene Lakeshore Property Owners Association is hosting an informal meeting on the project Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Coeur d?Alene resort.