Thursday, April 25, 2024

Sherman Square was never public

Staff Writer | December 18, 2020 1:00 AM

Sherman Square Park, the welcome respite for visitors looking to rest their feet and catch their breath, will likely switch into the public’s hands.

The pocket park on Sherman Avenue has long been a site for shoppers and people-watchers to sit and enjoy the urban surroundings of downtown Coeur d’Alene. The park has also been a de facto gift to the community for more than 30 years, a privately owned space the public has always enjoyed.

“Sherman Square's been used by the public for a very long time,” Coeur d’Alene city administrator Troy Tymesen told the Coeur d’Alene Press. “The owner has been very generous over the years with this property.”

Bill Greenwood, Parks and Recreation director for the city, told the City Council at its Tuesday meeting that the Sheetz family was interested in selling the park by year’s end. In the last month, a partnership has been struck to keep Sherman Square generally public.

“It always amazes me how fortunate we are to be living in this community,” Greenwood said. “It is something special. We’ve got the lake. We’ve got the open space. We’ve got all the stuff North Idaho has to offer, and it’s just really wonderful."

That collaboration took the next step as the city entered into a letter of intent with ignite cda, Coeur d’Alene’s urban renewal agency, and the local Rotary club. Sherman Square falls into the still-active Lake District urban renewal district. Ignite will pay $500,000 toward the purchase of the property, with the local Rotary club footing the bill for the remaining $25,000 needed to make the purchase go through. In addition, Rotary will spend $275,000 for improvements and upgrades.

While the deal is by no means complete, the vote to enter into agreement paves the way for the land purchase and eventual transfer to move forward.

Once the Lake District expires at the end of 2021, Sherman Square will then go to city hands. The Coeur d’Alene City Council voted Tuesday to enter into the agreement.

As for the enhancements that could come to Sherman Square, Greenwood said those details haven’t yet been hashed out.

For the time being, the city will not pay for maintenance, at least until the city takes control in 2022.

“We may have some involvement in [projects],” Greenwood said, “but I wouldn’t say it’s a lot of cost for us. I think it’s really a good thing to do. And I like parks. Give me another one. That’s all right.”