North Idaho

CdA leaders considering $4M upgrade to McEuen Field plan

Four months into the construction of McEuen Field, the Coeur d'Alene City Council is considering multi-million dollar changes to the plan. 

The team dedicated to improving downtown Coeur d'Alene said more features need to be added, like a grand plaza, concession area and more. Wednesday night city council members could decide whether to move forward or not.

Carolyn Berry has been keeping a close eye on this project all along. She owns Wiggett's Antique Marketplace on Front Street. Plans for new parking would remove driveways in that area, impacting Wiggett vendors delivering furniture and customers picking them up.

"They suggested that one of the possibilities would be to make it a yellow curb, loading and unloading zone. But my goodness, we have that in front of our store and we still fight to park there," said Berry.

Berry has been consistently showing up to McEuen Field meetings. She was there again Wednesday night, as city council looked at a different McEuen plan that's around $4 Million more expensive. Right now the budget is $14.2 Million. With the added in amenities, it could go up to $16.8 Million.

"We took amenities out to meet the budget milestone and decided that this is not the park that the community deserves or wants," said City Administrator Wendy Gabriel.

The changed plan includes sport courts near the library, a grand plaza near the seawall and a concession area that would bring in money for the park.

 "The plan has not grown. It includes amenities that were in the original concept," said Gabriel. 

Coeur d'Alene City Council will decide if it moves forward and whether to ask the Lake City Development Corporation to balance the cost for park improvements. Options to pay for the Front Street changes include money out of the general street funds. Property owners along Front Street are being asked to pitch in.

Those who've been skeptical of this project all along aren't happy. Mary Souza, who was pushing for a public vote on the matter last year, said the change in price tag is unprofessional and lacks integrity, predicting it will go up again.

Gabriel maintains that these changes are necessary to make McEuen the best for the community.

Either way, the Coeur d'Alene city council could make a decision by Wednesday night.