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LCDC to fund Ed Corridor plan

by Tom Hasslinger
| December 28, 2010 8:00 PM

COEUR d'ALENE - Financing for the plan is falling into place.

Lake City Development Corp. has agreed to pay JUB Engineers an additional $435,000 for the final design plan on infrastructure improvements inside the education corridor.

The pledge is on top of the $65,000 the urban renewal board agreed to fund last month for topographic survey work related to the project.

The goal is to still break ground in 2011.

"That's our hope," said Tony Berns, LCDC executive director. "Our goal is to get something built next year."

The final design should be the final step before sending the project out to bid next spring.

Some of the construction details on the proposed road improvements still need to be ironed out. City officials are scheduling a workshop with LCDC and project stake holders to ensure all input is shared as the plan marches forward.

Earlier this year, the city contracted with JUB for a roughly $200,000 traffic study and conceptual design for the project.

That plan called for nearly $9 million in street improvements over two phases near North Idaho College.

Last week, the Coeur d'Alene City Council assigned the contract for the next phase of work over to LCDC as the agency assumes control of the project. The $500,000 for the final design is for phase one, which accounts for roughly $7.3 million of the $9 million total.

But a pair of City Council members opposed assigning the contract over to LCDC, as well as the speed at which the plan is moving forward.

"I've been a proponent of the education corridor from the beginning, I think it's a wonderful opportunity for the community," said Councilwoman Deanna Goodlander. "But in this case I just don't feel good about pushing it so fast."

Ron Edinger opposed the contract assignment with Goodlander. Both said they would like to work more closely with the project as it moves forward, and for the city to keep control. That led to scheduling the workshop, which Mayor Sandi Bloem requested. She said the city staff and engineers had been working closely with the project all along.

JUB's conceptual plan calls for about one mile of expanded streets around the education corridor - namely a built-out Hubbard Street, Mullan Road and College Drive - bike lanes, traffic calming roundabouts and two new signals, and a mile and a half of connecting bicycle paths to the Centennial Trial. It would include 350 deciduous trees and 100 coniferous trees, and lamps up and down the new streets.

JUB finished the plan in the fall. One of the unanswered questions is how to best build out the Northwest Boulevard and River Avenue intersection.

Berns said city, LCDC and other stakeholders will flesh that out together as the plan moves forward. The project plan can be seen at www.lcdc.org under partnership projects.

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