COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - On Friday the City of Coeur d'Alene reached a tentative agreement with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad to buy 20 acres along the Spokane River for $2.5 Million.
The city said the transaction will open opportunities for public use and economic development in an area that's been landlocked by the railroad's right-of-way.
"I would come down for walking and using that way and restaurants," Nonie White said.
City officials said they would like to expand Riverstone Park, so that it has riverfront access. A move that would benefit people like Nonie White and her husband Jack, who walk around the area often.
"More restaurants, more nights out," Nonie said.
The piece of land stretches from two miles from Huetter Road to Riverstone Drive. The railroad initially wanted more the $4 Million for it, but after five years of negotiations with the city, settled for almost half that. Now the deal goes to the council for approval.
"They will look at the price, they will direct staff. We hope to move forward with a purchase agreement," Finance Director Troy Tymesen said.
As of now, the city doesn't have any funding in place, but officials said they are looking at options.
"One could be working with the Lake City Development Corporation because they own property on either end of this railroad right-of-way," Tymesen said.
Other options include finding grants and trading with property owners. Some hope the development doesn't lead to overcrowding in the area.
"The one thing I would say is not cramming things on top of businesses on top of businesses," Stacey Holley said. "Being tasteful about it and being selective about what they're offering."
However, she does think it would be nice to see the area developed.
"Having access to the water and being able to eat on the water is a nice advantage," she said.
But before too many plans are made, the council need to approve the deal.
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