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Team McEuen readies plan

by Tom Hasslinger
| December 17, 2010 8:00 PM

COEUR d'ALENE - Details coming soon.

After that, time to weigh in.

Team McEuen, the architectural, landscape and engineering representatives charged with crafting a conceptual design for a revamped McEuen Field, has finished its mission and is getting ready to share the plan with the public.

Soon, very soon.

"There's been discussion on McEuen Field off and on for a while, but not anything to this degree because we were waiting for the funding to be available," said Mayor Sandi Bloem. "It's really exciting to see this."

An open house for the project is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 6, to share what Team McEuen drew up after working for half a year with a 21-person steering committee comprised of various community stakeholders.

The goal of the meeting is to get feedback on the plan that could see work begin next year. If suggestions lead to more tweaks, or if word needs more spreading, other public meetings will follow.

"We're going to ask and answer a lot of the frequently asked questions," said Monte Miller, Team McEuen architect. "We want to get the most amount of information out there as possible, and at the same time take in as much information and as much input from the public as possible. We don't want five people leading this thing."

Whatever plan finally comes out of the meetings will be the one that will go before the City Council in 2011 to adopt as the park's official master plan.

That would be the farthest along the downtown park reconstruction project - which has been a discussion point in Coeur d'Alene for the better part of a decade - has been.

The master plan would be the blueprint for groundbreaking.

So what, if anything, should be done with the ball fields, boat launch, parking lot and green space? Hold tight.

"Anytime you talk about public space, especially McEuen Field and Tubbs Hill, it could be quite an interesting discussion," said Ron Edinger, City Council president. "We'll have to wait and see what they show us at the meeting on the 6th and go from there."

Earlier in the year, the city held a couple of community meetings on what the conceptual design should or could include. Those plans drew up possibilities of gazebos, walkways, more green space and other amenities for the park south of Front Avenue near Tubbs Hill and Lake Coeur d'Alene.

Those designs drew on information from an old master plan and downtown economic studies the city engaged over the 10-plus years such as the Walker-Macy and Hyett Palma studies.

A location for the meeting hasn't been established, but the public will have a chance to see and comment upon the plan before Jan. 6.

Miller said in the next week or two audio and pictures of the design will be online at www.mceuenpark.com. The park also has a Facebook page.

Lake City Development Corp., the city's urban renewal agency, will likely be a chief financier for the project, Bloem said. McEuen Field was a major reason the urban renewal boundary was formed where it was in the late 1990s.

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