I've been traveling a lot this summer, so I've been neglecting this thread a little, but here's the low-down on stuff in the Cd'A area this past week:
1. Design work on the planned I-90/Beck Road interchange (at the Idaho/Washington state line) has started and the project could be completed as early as 2010 (construction to begin in 2009):
Engineering work has begun for a planned new freeway interchange that would serve the big Cabela’s Inc. sporting goods store that’s under construction on the west edge of Post Falls.
Dave Larsen, who heads up Idaho projects for Spokane-based Taylor Engineering Inc., says that company has begun to stake out the proposed Beck Road-Interstate 90 interchange. The interchange would be located roughly halfway between the Pleasant View interchange, in Post Falls, and the State Line interchange on the Washington state side of the border.
The planned interchange, currently estimated to cost $30 million, is on an exceptionally fast track, because it would be paid for up front by Sidney, Neb.-based Cabela’s and thus doesn’t have to await the normal state funding-approval process.
The Idaho Legislature approved a measure in March that allows private parties to improve freeway and highway access for retail and commercial developments then receive later from the state rebates of 60 percent of the sales tax the developments generate to cover the costs of the access projects.
Cabela’s is the anchor tenant for the planned 200-acre Pointe at Post Falls retail and commercial center being developed by Foursquare Properties Inc., of Carlsbad, Calif. The sporting goods chain’s $20 million, 130,000-square-foot facility is being built by Vandervert Construction Inc., of Spokane.
The Post Falls Cabela’s alone is expected to generate over $100 million in annual sales and bring in $6 million a year in sales taxes.
So far, Cabela’s, which is scheduled to open this fall, is the only announced tenant for the development. When the development is completed, however, it is expected to generate $30 million in annual sales tax revenue, the sales tax-rebate enabling legislation says
2. North Idaho College could be the site of the first police training academy in the state outside of the Boise area. Classes could begin as early as 2008:
An effort to spread police officer training opportunities across the state will start at North Idaho College.
The college has been in talks with the state academy in the Boise area about offering classes, and eventually a full police academy, in Coeur d'Alene. The Idaho Peace Officer Standards and Training Academy, known as POST, still needs to hire someone to oversee the process and its council must approve the plan. But the group's larger goal of decentralizing training services will begin at the community college in Coeur d'Alene, POST Executive Director Jeffry Black said.
The group hopes to give a proposal to its council this winter. The targeted opening date of fall 2008 is tentative, Black said.
The bulk of police training is at POST headquarters in Meridian, making it expensive for agencies in North Idaho to send officers there for training."Actually having the actual academy here on a regional basis once or twice a year would be awesome," Kootenai County sheriff's Capt. Ben Wolfinger said.
The state's population boom makes decentralizing the training center necessary, he said. "From a physical facilities standpoint, we're really maxed out."
And facilities at NIC, the College of Southern Idaho and in eastern Idaho mean the cost of starting new classes and training programs will be minimal, he said.
"It seems silly to build additional facilities when we already have bricks and mortar," Black said.
Instructors are already available in North Idaho. Wolfinger taught training courses in Boise for 10 years and teaches classes in NIC's criminal justice department.
3. The KMPO endorsed rights of way acquisition for a proposed 9-mile freeway bypass of Coeur d'Alene. The proposed roadway would run along Huetter Road, as I described in previous posts. Sounds like part, if not all of the highway, would be 6-lanes (good, because by the time it is built, we will need it...even if Hwy. 95 is 6-lanes and Hwy. 41 is 4-lanes by then ):
Over the objections of numerous North Idaho residents, the Kootenai Metropolitan Planning Organization voted 6-3 Thursday to endorse acquisition of rights of way for the eventual construction of a 9-mile highway bypass along Huetter Road.
The proposed roadway would run north and south between U.S. Highways 41 and 95, originating north of Seltice Way in Post Falls and connecting to Highway 53 east of Rathdrum.
The goal is to relieve future congestion on existing highways as a result of residential and commercial growth, which is expected to continue.
"Kootenai County is a boom, and it's going to keep going," said KMPO board member Jimmie Dorsey, of the Eastside Highway District. "It's up to this body to accommodate growth as it comes.
"Our job is to preserve the corridor opportunity … before it all grows up, so as this country grows we're not gridlocked like Seattle is."
Now that the measure has won KMPO's approval, it will be up to the various jurisdictions governing the corridor to implement the recommendations in their respective master plans and require developers to set aside affected land for the road, Miles said.
4. A $14 million bond to pay for a new multi-use events/convention center at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds may be put beofre the county's voters in 2008:
As currently proposed, the events center would be 112,000 square feet and cost $18.5 million for construction, equipment, fixtures and other items needed to operate the center. About $5 million would be raised through charitable contributions with the rest of the balance secured in the form of a loan or bond issue to be paid off in 20 to 25 years.
"Fall of 2008 would be, I believe, the time to put it on the ballot and take it to the taxpayers," said Ron Edwards, president-elect of the Rocky Mountain Association of Fairs, on Tuesday. "This is not a white elephant. The building will continue to pay for itself on an ongoing basis."
In January, the fairgrounds board hired a Washington State University economic development professor to conduct a $5,000 study on how best to market the fairgrounds. The results of the study pointed to the fairgrounds not having an adequate facility for conventions and trade shows.
"It will take a couple of years before it stands alone," Edwards said of a Coeur d'Alene facility. "Once it's up and running, it will run out of days before we run out of events."
Chris Holloway, Kootenai County Fairgrounds manager, said the county currently funds about $100,000 annually of the fairgrounds' $1 million budget. She believes having a year-round event center for a host of possible events will make the fairgrounds profitable while attracting business for the area -- particularly in the winter.
"You're bringing people into that shoulder season where a lot of hotels really need that business," Holloway said.
The study claims the events center would have a $27 million annual impact to the local economy.
Events could include recreation like soccer, basketball and league sports, off-season training, rodeos, auctions, motorcycle events, livestock sales, pet shows, trade shows, craft fairs, weddings, RV and boat shows, and church groups, among many others.
The largest building at the 84-acre Kootenai County Fairgrounds is now 16,500 square feet.
The new events center would have a 49,350-square-foot field house that could seat 3,000; a 25,500-square-foot pavilion that could seat between 1,500 and 2,000; and a 16,612-square-foot auditorium that could seat between 550 and 1,200. It would also have two large meeting rooms -- seating between 40 to 110, and a kitchen.
Merlin Berger, spokesman for the North Idaho Fair Foundation and downtown business owner, said the Kroc community center that is expected to be open in fall 2008 would not conflict or overlap with the fairgrounds events center.
"As far as competition, we're looking at a totally different scene here," Berger said. "The Kroc Center will not be able to accommodate car shows, trade shows -- a whole different set of uses."
5. A developer wanting to buy 618 acres for a controversial development that could increase Hayden's population by a third is suing the property's owners for breach of contract. The proposed mixed-use development would include over 1,800 homes and could potentially add 2,100 students to the Coeur d'Alene School District, the 5th largest in the state:
6. Sandpoint area news---A 180 acre gated community with access to a yacht club and a $2.2 million private clubhouse is being developed along the Pend Oreille River outside of Sandpoint:
The Crossing at Willow Bay will cater to people who want to build estates. Eighty-two lots are offered, ranging in size from half-acre with a view or waterfront to four-acre lots in the woods. Prices start in the mid-$200,000s and range up to the low-$700,000s.
"We've got a nice variety," said Kim Hansen, who sells property in the development owned by her husband, Gerald Hansen, and Jim Sullivan, of Sullivan Homes.
The amenity-rich development, located 10 miles southwest of Sandpoint, will have a community beach, extensive trails and an outdoor sports complex with tennis, volleyball and basketball courts and a picnic area. Residents have access to boat slips. Boat and RV parking is included in the cost.