COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - Coeur d'Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem is pleased the city council, in a 5-1 vote, approved a conceptual plan for McEuen Park. Now she hopes the community can move forward.
The park upgrades include everything from a basketball court to tennis courts and a splash pad.
"It's important to have a vision, to have a roadmap so to speak, to move forward with McEuen as we progress," Bloem said.
Now the city will look for equal or better places to move the 3rd Street boat launch and baseball field and also start looking into funding.
"We will be aggressive in looking for grants, in-kind donations, naming opportunities and kind of thing as we proceed," Bloem said.
Looking to the urban renewal district is also an option and using funds set aside for some of the parking and street improvements. The plans to change McEuen Park have been greeted by some with open arms.
"Everyone was kind of talking about how this is going to be for outsiders. It's not going to be for outsiders. It's going to be a year round park. We don't have that right now," supporter Eden Irgens said.
The price tag ranges from $23M to $36M, but the city council passed a resolution to not support bonds, levies or tax increases for the project. .
There has been consistently strong opposition to this plan, with detractors saying it's too expensive and the changes would eat away at the small town charm of Coeur d'Alene.
Some opponents are against plans for underground parking under Front Street and more spots up by city hall; one reason is they believe its unnecessary costs.
"I think the McEuen Park project is more about a parking lot than a park," Dan Clark said.
However now that a vision has been approved by the city council, Mayor Bloem is hoping both sides can put their differences aside and work together on the project.
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