City Ponders Best Use for Waterfront Land

By Tom Bacon

The City of Coeur d'Alene is trying to figure out what to do with some prime waterfront property - six miles of it. It's a narrow corridor of land along the Spokane River, stretching from Independence Point on Lake Coeur d' Alene west to Huetter Road.

Coeur d' Alene city council members have formally given the Welch Comer Engineers firm the go-ahead to devise a master plan for use of the corridor. It may involve a mix of commercial and private development, recreation use, meaning trails and parks and expansion of Riverstone Park, and several public access points to the river. The acreage is divided into two sections. The east end, called Four Corners, runs from Independence Point to the Riverstone area. It's a two-mile stretch, much of which is owned by the federal Bureau of Land Management. If the agency approves the final master plan, it may lease the land to the city at little or no cost.

The second tract starts at Riverstone and runs west along the river to Huetter Road, a strip owned by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad. The city is purchasing part of the right-of-way for two and a half million dollars.

A Welch Comer engineer said stakeholders in the area will have significant impacts on the planning decisions. Those groups include the North IDaho college, the Fort Ground Homeowners Association, the Museum of North Idaho. The Human Rights Education Institute, bike and hiking advocates and skateboard enthusiasts.

The final plan should be finished by next February.
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