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Boizean Feb 7, 2008 2:15 AM

How about some snow pics? :)

jimthemanincda Feb 7, 2008 4:27 AM


Originally Posted by Boizean (Post 3336739)
How about some snow pics? :)

Coming soon, I promise. I'm in California right now, but when I get back this weekend, it is on my list of things to do. I am going to take some pictures of our record-setting North Idaho winter, as well as pictures of Hayden and other areas.

jimthemanincda Feb 7, 2008 11:11 PM

Good timing on the article on the bus system, as I was just talking about it a few days ago on this thread...

Citylink ridership growing

Amy Cannata
February 7, 2008

A three-month-old Citylink bus route between Riverstone and Cabela's is attracting an ever-growing numbers of riders and may be the cornerstone for a new public transportation link between Kootenai and Spokane counties.

Talks are in the initial stages, but people on both sides of the border say there is potential for a cross-state bus route.

Development on the western edge of Post Falls has been booming, and so have commuter trips, said Luke Malek, executive director of the Post Falls Urban Renewal Agency.

To prepare for even more trips in the future, the city of Post Falls has an agreement to buy a park and ride lot at Foursquare Properties. The five-acre site near the Cabela's store will be used for carpooling and mass transit, including Citylink.

"The location is perfect," Malek said. "Everyone was looking at that area saying we're going to need a way to get people out there because there will be a lot of jobs there."

The Riverstone-Cabela's route attracted 1,947 riders in November and 6,624 in December, just two months into its run.

Citylink is a cooperative effort between the Coeur d'Alene Tribe and Kootenai County.

Citylink ridership grew by almost 60 percent in 2007, from 14,635 riders in December 2006 to 23,255 in December 2007.

A recently revised route system added coverage areas to both Coeur d'Alene and Post Falls.

The former system of two routes traveling along the same loop in opposite directions made some trips quicker for some in Post Falls than the current system which requires them to travel through Riverstone to get back to Post Falls.

"We decided serving a greater amount of riders was more important," said Citylink Assistant Transportation Manager Rod Mitchell of the new routes.

The Cabela's route has been a real hit, said Citylink Assistant Transportation Manager Andrew Murphy.

"It's working out well. We reached out to the state line which was a bit of a gamble," Murphy said.

That gamble could make an Idaho-Washington public transportation link a real possibility.

Spokane Transit Authority officials will meet with Malek this month to discuss the potential for a future STA-Citylink connection at the Cabela's park and ride lot.

A regional transportation hub at that location would provide public transportation linking places as far apart as Plummer and Cheney, although the bulk of use would probably take people between Post Falls and Coeur d'Alene and Spokane.

"It's really an exploratory conversation," said STA spokeswoman Molly Myers.

STA's closest stop right now is about four miles away in Liberty Lake.

"A large number of the cars parked at the Liberty Lake Park and Ride lot have Idaho plates," said Spokane Regional Transportation Council and Kootenai Metropolitan Planning Organization spokeswoman Staci Lehman, who uses the lot herself.

"We're very interested in the idea of regional transportation hub," Lehman said.

A 2005 travel survey conducted by the Spokane Regional Transportation Council found that 7,000 working households have members who travel between the two counties for work.

STA tried in late 2005 to win a Washington state grant to provide limited, commute service into Coeur d'Alene, but was turned down.

Crossing state lines wouldn't be a problem if the STA Board decides the link would benefit its riders. Myers said that the entire area is growing with more cross-state commuting as each day passes.

"We're told from legal that there are no issues," Myers said. "It would just require an interlocal agreement."

When the time comes, Citylink will be on board, Murphy said.

"We're still a way out, but we're trying to prepare ourselves for that growth," he said.

Cottonwood Feb 11, 2008 9:11 PM


Originally Posted by jimthemanincda (Post 3337072)
Coming soon, I promise. I'm in California right now, but when I get back this weekend, it is on my list of things to do. I am going to take some pictures of our record-setting North Idaho winter, as well as pictures of Hayden and other areas.

Nice, keep us posted--it has been a while since pictures of CD'A have been posted.

jimthemanincda Feb 24, 2008 1:03 AM

1. Rathdrum holding its own with growth

RATHDRUM -- Rathdrum doesn't appear interested in watching other cities grow up around it.

During his first State of the City address, Mayor Vic Holmes said on Thursday that the state of the city is "good and continues to improve," but it will have to continue to attract business to remain a vibrant place.

Rathdrum's population has increased to more than 7,000 from 4,816, according to the 2000 Census, an increase of 45 percent.

But as much as it's grown, the need for retail was a priority to some.

Chamber president Jeff Smith said Post Falls has an aggressive growth plan on its north side and said Rathdrum needs to be cognizant of that as it hopes to grow to the south.

2. Neighbors discuss Hayden Canyon

COEUR d'ALENE -- Hayden Canyon supporters say the proposed 616-acre development improves land where a gravel pit now operates and an old dynamite factory sits.

"The property is going to be developed," said Hayden Canyon developer Glen Lanker. "If we're not successful in doing it, we could sell it and someone could build a golf course and a gated (community.)"

Lanker met with Friends of Hayden and members of the Kootenai Environmental Alliance Thursday in an effort to convince the public his project is good for them.

Nearby residents facing more than a decade of construction noise and dust should the development be approved say the 1,800 homes proposed would devastate their quiet community. After the construction noise is gone, commuter noise will replace it, said Philip Clements, with Friends of Hayden.

The mixed-use village he proposes includes 240 acres of open space, 22 acres devoted for a school and fire and police stations, and 10 percent affordable housing.

It was once rejected by planning and zoning, but Lanker re-submitted his annexation request last month.

Not all neighbors are opposed. Allan Golub noted the proliferation of "beautiful farmland turned into vinyl fences." He said Hayden Canyon is well-designed and is an improvement over the land's current condition.

Lanker said no city public hearings have been scheduled yet.

jimthemanincda Mar 7, 2008 6:07 AM

Spokane, North Idaho dodging the worst of national slowdown

Rick Thomas-Cd'A Press

SPOKANE -- The real estate market in the Spokane/North Idaho region is dodging the worst of the national slowdown, but it has its share of turmoil.

Developments such at The Pointe in Post Falls will be enhanced by an interchange, but that is likely three years off.

"Cabela's is a huge economic draw."

There are no signed deals, but Sam's Club Wal-Mart and Lowes are among the prospects there. A hotel and a bank are planned and national tenants have expressed interest.

That project also helps the nearby Riverbend Commerce Park, where the final phase of 24 lots will be sold out.

"Highway 41 and Mullan is one of the most interesting intersections," with Highland Crossing and the River City Center continuing to expand.

Also on the highway, mixed-use development Tullamore is under way and a 250-acre master-planned project at the corner of Prairie Avenue has completed its site plan.

Other areas such as the Ironwood medical district and downtown, "a romantic place to hang out," each have a mix of new construction like the Chinook Medical Building and older buildings that need a little work.

Riverstone is bustling but will really come to life in 2009 when at least nine new tenants open for business.

InlandEmpire Mar 8, 2008 2:14 AM

Thanks for the update! I was wondering where the CDA thread had gone. Everything sounds good... except ANOTHER Wal-Mart affiliate between the two OTHER Wal-Marts.... bleh :(

jimthemanincda Mar 17, 2008 12:54 AM

It's not really development news, but it's close enough...just shows that North Idaho's real estate market is not as slow as it is in other parts of the country.

COEUR d'ALENE--There is no real estate crisis at one of North Idaho's largest brokerages.

Century 21 Beutler & Associates' Coeur d'Alene office was named the No. 1 Century 21 Office in the World in 2007 at the International Century 21 "Power of Gold" Convention, March 1 in Orlando, Fla. The office was recognized out of 8,000 Century 21 offices in more than 50 countries worldwide.

The No. 1 status was based on "adjusted gross commission" of sales--or the dollar amount of closed transactions during the year.

"This award is a true testament to the dedication and teamwork of our company," Beutler said. "Our entire team of sales associates, managers and staff are just incredible. There has been a lot of national media attention regarding the condition of the real estate market, but real estate is local, not national--and our market is in very good condition."

In addition to the Coeur d'Alene office receiving No. 1 status, the company as a whole was recognized as a Top 10 Company in the nation.

"Our company consists of six offices and just over 250 sales associates," said Todd Sankovich, chief operations officer. "We are the eighth Top Company in the nation; this is a great achievement for us because our peers in the Top Ten are all much larger organizations than we are. We're going against Century 21 companies who have up to 25 offices and more than 850 agents. Being in the top 10 nationwide is a pretty big accomplishment for a company of our size," he said.

boisecynic Mar 17, 2008 2:59 AM

Thanks for keeping us up on CdA!

jimthemanincda Mar 18, 2008 5:39 AM

Highway to Hayden
Proposed building code along Government Way causing controversy

Amy Cannata
Staff writer
March 15, 2008

The downtown Hayden transformation started last year with sidewalks and street trees could rebuild more than a mile of Government Way over the next two decades into a pedestrian-centered urban core with storefronts along the street, parking in the back and enhanced public spaces.

Many of the changes are contingent on passage of a proposed Central Business District Overlay Ordinance. That ordinance would impose stringent building and design standards on properties flanking Government Way between Prairie Avenue and Miles Avenue.

It's a bold effort for the city of 13,000 people – one that is not without controversy. While some tout the codes as a way to improve the city's livability and economy; others say they are too restrictive and tie property owners' hands when it comes to redeveloping their land.

Hayden would be the first North Idaho city to adopt the sorts of city center building codes found in larger Northwest cities like Portland and Seattle.

With the changes, Government Way could become the "heart and soul" of Hayden, said Community Development Director Lisa Key. "It won't just be the strip of an old highway in a dying two-horse town."

That strip is a product of its time.

Government Way grew up in the 1950s just as America was embracing the automobile. Unlike downtowns that were built before or at the turn of the 20th century, Hayden was designed for people to drive from place to place rather than walk. So drive they did.

Key said that led to an environment where people don't really know each other and lack the sense of community that can be created by sidewalk interactions and downtown events in places like Coeur d'Alene and Spokane.

The city's part of the project will be improving the downtown City Hall Park and building centralized parking facilities, said City Administrator Jay Townsend.

"We're just trying to create the environment that's ripe for investment," Key said.

Developers will do the rest as they upgrade their properties according to new codes.

Some of the proposed code changes include requirements that buildings be within 10 to 20 feet of the street and have parking located on the side or rear, not in front. Signage would be restricted.

With the exception of the library, none of the buildings along Government Way currently meet the proposed standards, including the recently constructed Hayden Creek project. That means that property owners who want to redevelop their properties would have to start from scratch, demolishing existing buildings to build new ones.

Hayden attorney Ed Holmes recently found out about the proposed ordinance. He said the setback requirements and other standards would prevent him from adding onto a building he constructed less than two years ago.

Such restrictions on property owners amount to a taking, Holmes said.

"We have these outsiders coming in and telling us what our community should look like," he said of the Portland firm hired to oversee the downtown plan. "They're taking way too much on. It's just like a 1,000-pound hammer coming down on the city of Hayden."

The work may have been overseen by a Portland company, but the proposals all came from Hayden residents, both Key and Townsend said. They noted that focus groups, developers and citizens were there every step of the way.

"It's not our vision. It was a community process," Townsend said. "This is the vision the community has for itself."

jimthemanincda Mar 18, 2008 6:04 AM

Hot tip...the Census Bureau is releasing its 2007 estimates for Idaho counties this weekend and its 2007 estimates for Idaho metros and micros next weekend.

Here are my guesses of what the Census Bureau will come up with for population of Idaho's largest counties:

Twin Falls-73,660

Boiseguy Mar 19, 2008 9:53 AM


My guess
Canyon- 196,000
Kootenai- 140,000
Twin Falls-80,000


Originally Posted by jimthemanincda (Post 3423145)
Hot tip...the Census Bureau is releasing its 2007 estimates for Idaho counties this weekend and its 2007 estimates for Idaho metros and micros next weekend.

Here are my guesses of what the Census Bureau will come up with for population of Idaho's largest counties:

Twin Falls-73,660

jimthemanincda Mar 20, 2008 1:57 PM


Originally Posted by jimthemanincda (Post 3423145)
Hot tip...the Census Bureau is releasing its 2007 estimates for Idaho counties this weekend and its 2007 estimates for Idaho metros and micros next weekend.

Here are my guesses of what the Census Bureau will come up with for population of Idaho's largest counties:

Twin Falls-73,660

Here are the newly released 2007 census numbers for Idaho counties:
Twin Falls-73,058


alphawolf Mar 24, 2008 9:28 PM

I don't think there has been a Lewiston thread created yet so I thought I might as well loop it in here.

Lewiston airport gets needed grant for expansion
Monday morning roundup

POSTED: 09:00 MDT Monday, March 24, 2008

by Robb Hicken

The Federal Economic Development Administration has approved a nearly $2 million grant to help build an industrial park at the Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport. The grant is the final piece of a $3.2 million package of grants, donations and other financing put together by the Clearwater Economic Development Association, according to the Associated Press. Lewiston City Manager John Krauss says the grant is wonderful news for the region.

jimthemanincda Mar 27, 2008 6:55 PM

Population of Idaho Metro & Micro areas as of July 1, 2007:

1. Boise 587,689
2. Cd'A 134,442
3. Idaho Falls 119,396
4. Twin Falls 93,124
5. Pocatello 87,609
6. Lewiston 60,043
7. Rexburg 49,164
8. Blackfoo t 43,466
9. Burley 39,524
10. Moscow 36,299
11. Mtn. Home 28,856

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

jimthemanincda Mar 29, 2008 9:14 PM

1. It keeps growing and growing
KOOTENAI COUNTY--Kootenai County continues to climb.

Kootenai County's population rose to 134,442 in 2007, according to figures released on Thursday from the U.S. Census Bureau.

That's an increase of 3,722 (2.8 percent) from 2006, making the county the 29th-fastest growing metropolitan area in the country out of 363.

"Kootenai County's population growth last year was pretty normal, and it was about what I expected," said Kathryn Tacke, regional economist for the Idaho Department of Labor. "I was sure it would be in the general ballpark of the 2005 to 2006 increase."

The county's population has risen about 24 percent since 2000 and has hovered at a 3 percent-per-year clip in recent years including a 3.1 percent hike from 2005 to 2006.

Population growth stimulates the growth of construction, retail stores and service businesses, Tacke said.

"The strong population growth Kootenai County has experienced over most of the last 35 years does remind us how lucky we are to live in such an attractive community and that job opportunities have grown fast enough to keep up with strong population growth," she said. "It's hard to imagine something that would stop people from wanting to move into Kootenai County."

Idaho had other fast-growing metro areas.

Boise-Nampa grew 3.5 percent to nearly 588,000 to rank 13th in the nation. Idaho Falls increased 3.4 percent to nearly 120,000 to rank 15th.

Palm Coast, Fla., is the fastest growing metro area in the country at 7.2 percent.

New manufacturing operations and the continued expansion of South Idaho's dairy sector catapulted the Twin Falls-Jerome County area into the ranks of the nation's fastest growing small urban centers.

Population estimates for counties with urban concentrations of 10,000 to 50,000 people, called micropolitan areas, ranked the Twin Falls area 13th nationally among 576 micropolitan areas in actual population growth from mid-2006 to mid-2007.

The two-county area grew by just over 2,200 in the 12 months through June 2007, giving the Twin Falls area a 2.4 percent growth rate to more than 93,000 and ranking it 29th among all micropolitan areas.

The Lewiston and Pocatello areas, where economic activity has not been as robust in the past three years, recorded only fractional population growth.

One other area in Idaho saw notable growth. The Jackson, Wyo., micropolitan area that includes rapidly growing Teton County, Idaho, with its cities of Driggs and Victor, posted 3.2 percent growth to rank 15th nationally.

Of all the small Idaho urban areas, 210 had no population growth or lost population from mid-2006 to mid-2007 while another 59 posted population gains of fewer than 100.

2. Residential work to slow slightly in ’08
By: Emily Proffitt

Spokane’s residential construction market, which heated up to red hot in recent years before starting to cool last year, likely will continue to chill somewhat this year, experts here say.

“We still have a fairly strong local economy and a great quality of life,” White says. “There’s still demand as new jobs are being created, and interest rates are still very low.”

The Journal of Business examines residential construction activity further in a story in its Building the Inland Northwest magazine, included in this issue. Among the projects mentioned in that article that either are under way or planned to begin this year are:

•In Post Falls, Coeur d’Alene-based Wildwood Building Co. plans to start construction this month on the second phase of Prairieview Terrace, a 52-unit affordable housing project.

•Coeur d’Alene Condominiums plans to start work later this year on a $50 million, 74-unit condo 5-story project in Coeur d’Alene, overlooking the Spokane River near the big Riverstone development.


3. Golf-course community eyed in Idaho--Priest River to consider request to annex property for major development
By: Jeanne Gustafson

North Idaho developer William Rado­benko says he plans to develop an 800-acre golf-course community that apparently could add 500 homes to the city of Priest River, Idaho.

“My goal for the property would be to construct a golf-course community,” he says in his letter. Priest River is about eight miles east of the Washington-Idaho border on U.S. 2.

Bonner County Planning Director Clare Marley says the county approved a comprehensive land-use amendment request for the property from the developer in 2006, changing it to resort community from rural. At that time, Radobenko anticipated developing up to 500 homes there, but so far hasn’t submitted a planned unit development application for the subdivision, she says.

4. Listing gives one more reason for corridor
D.F. Oliveria
The Spokesman-Review

You may have heard that Boise and Spokane were Nos. 2 and 9 on that Forbes mag list of America's best cities for business and careers. But did you know that Coeur d'Alene was No. 21 on the Forbes list for best small places in the same category – the top finish among Northwest towns? The Lake City ranked No. 3 on the Forbes list in the category of job growth and should have finished higher on the overall list if it hadn't fallen flat in the category of "educational attainment" (No. 91). Can you now see why the community needs to get that education corridor done? … Pocatello (at No. 22) was the only other Northwest small town in the Top 25 … Other Northwest towns in the Top 50 were: Idaho Falls (28), Billings (34), Bend (36), and Wenatchee (43).

5. New roller coaster named at Silverwood
Taryn Hecker

Silverwood Theme Park's newest roller coaster will be named Aftershock.

The name was suggested 10 times out of 6,136 entries submitted during the park's recent coaster naming contest.

It was first suggested by an 18-year-old college student from Pennsylvania. Richard Palamara of Coraopolis, Pa., wins a free trip to the coaster's grand opening party.

Palamara will also be one of the first to ride the giant inverted boomerang-style roller coaster that Silverwood purchased from Six Flags Great America in Illinois, Marketing Manager Mark White said.

Others suggesting the name Aftershock will join Palamara on the ride, along with nine other finalists.

Local residents who suggested Aftershock include Sean Lister of Coeur d'Alene, Greg Watne of Post Falls, Sheamus Mahoney of Cheney, Tim Burnside of Coeur d'Alene, Emerson Wilson of Spokane, 15-year-old Kyle Russell of Sandpoint and 10-year-old Cynthia Smith of Athol.

Other local finalists include 13-year-old Amanda O'Neill of Spokane Valley (FireBolt), 7-year-old Lucas Ricks of Spokane (Stingray), 13-year-old Sarah Wyer of Spokane (Relapse), Heather McLain of Spokane (Recoil) and Brooke Sherman of Rathdrum (Cobra Canyon).

The coaster is set to open in July. It is the park's fourth roller coaster and is billed as Silverwood's "largest and most expensive attraction ever."

6. Northwest Place occupants starting to move in
Nils Rosdahl

Major occupants are starting their moves into the first building of Northwest Place. At 1450 Northwest Boulevard, in the northeast corner of the intersection of Highway 95 (where the Pines Motel and I Dunno night club once were), the complex will have two three-level structures of 38,000 and 23,000 square feet. The larger building is primarily complete, and the groundbreaking for the second will be midyear.

Kootenai Title moved into about 11,000 square feet on the second floor on March 10. About 35 employees left the company's former location at 1221 Emma Ave. (just off Northwest Boulevard). Kootenai Title started here in 1974. Its former spaces will become part of Century 21 Beutler and Associates real estate residential division. Beutler and Associates also owns the Northwest Place development with Black Rock Development.

Countrywide Home Loans will move into 7,300 square feet on the third floor in early April. With about 25 employees in its current offices in the Riverstone development, the 38-year-old company is associated with Countrywide Financial, with its headquarters in Pasadena, Calif.

Black Rock Development will move into Northwest Place in June. The corporate offices will occupy the remaining 4,300 square feet on the third floor, and the sales/construction/design division will have 3,300 square feet on the first floor.

Although leases are waiting to be signed and returned by prospective clients, about 2,000 square feet on the second floor and 6,000 square feet on the first floor remain available for occupants.
Here's a picture taken by my in December of the first of 2 buildings in the Northwest Place complex:

jimthemanincda Apr 9, 2008 7:47 PM

You can now get a bird's eye view of Cd'A, Post Falls, Hayden (and all of the Spokane, WA area) on MSN Live! Go to the link, zoom in tight on what you want to view (the Cd'A Resort for example), and hit "Bird's Eye." You'll get a great view of the area and can rotate the view in 360 degrees around buildings.

[The views are approximately a year old, because the only have 5 floors of the Parkside Tower completed]

Have fun!

jimthemanincda Apr 11, 2008 5:52 PM

Has anyone checked out the Bird's Eye view on MSN Live yet???

Here's an article about the Silver Valley that was in the New York Times last week:

In High Prices, Moribund Mines Find a Silver Bullet

Published: April 3, 2008
WALLACE, Idaho — The strangest thing happened here in the Silver Valley as it began the transformation from historic mining camp to yet another Western confection of ski slopes and condos for newcomers with money. The real estate market slowed, and the price of silver soared.

Two condominium projects under construction in Kellogg, just west of Wallace, are stalled, while once-struggling or -shuttered mines like Lucky Friday, Galena and the historic Sunshine Mine have been revived and are expanding into the hillsides.

Though real estate developers continue to have faith in the area for the long term, speculators who maneuver for land these days may well want to build underground. Miners are feeling less like fading local color and more like the backbone of the local economy.

“This is the Silver Valley, not the Tourism Valley,” Greg Riley, a miner who takes an elevator 5,900 feet down into the earth each workday, said between sips of beer at the Metals Bar and Lounge. “I’ve actually had people right here in this bar say to me, ‘Oh, they still mine here?’ ”

It was not such a foolish question a few years ago, when silver was slumming at less than $5 an ounce. Back then, local mines were closed or running skeleton crews or immersed in seemingly endless environmental cleanups. Since the 1980s, an entire generation of Silver Valley workers had left to find jobs elsewhere. Shoshone County, previously one of Idaho’s three most prosperous counties, had become one of its three poorest.

Now silver is around $17 an ounce, there is talk of reopening a local mining training site (it is a mine-it-yourself tourist attraction now), and an industry that declares itself cleaner and safer than ever is reaching out across the West to find workers.

“One of the things we never thought we would be experiencing again is a desperate need for more miners,” said Kathryn Tacke, a regional economist with the Idaho Department of Labor. “But anyone who wants to find a job mining in the Silver Valley probably can.”

For years, some kinds of mining have survived near increasingly affluent Western towns like Steamboat Springs, Colo. A few other old camps, including Leadville, Colo., are also now moving toward reviving mining operations. But for others, like Crested Butte and Breckenridge, also in Colorado, the natural surroundings remain what they became long ago: amenities for newcomers, not resources for industry.

“Now prices have recovered to where it’s finally economical” to mine again, said Laura Skaer, executive director of the Northwest Mining Association, but in many cases “the community has changed.”

The Silver Valley has not changed nearly as much as pricey resorts like Crested Butte, however. The town of Wallace remains a tiny triangle of 890 people and dozens of historic red-brick buildings, all wedged between steep evergreen slopes and Interstate 90. About 10 miles west, the historic uptown section of Kellogg has plenty of vacant storefronts, and chain-link fences surround the two stalled condominium projects.

Local officials say the revival of mining, however counterintuitive the idea may seem to the second-home aesthetic, is critical if the area is to remain affordable to a population whose families have lived here for generations. (Already there are concerns about the long-term rise in housing prices.)

The average pay for mining jobs in Shoshone County in 2006 was about $57,000, more than double the average of all other jobs, Ms. Tacke said. And while the current total of 700 mining jobs is a small fraction of the 4,000 that the county had in the early 1980s, still it is 200 more than at this time last year.

Many people here say they just want another chance to do what they do best. “I don’t really care about growth,” said Mayor Ronald Garitone, 68. “The price of silver is what determines our economic development.”

Dick Vester, an optometrist here for three decades, said his office had been bustling with newly flush miners finally able to update their prescriptions. Some splurge on sunglasses.

“Real estate is good, tourism is good,” Mr. Vester said. “But there’s nothing like good old industry. That’s what puts money on the table.”

For now, at least, the new mining boom does not appear to be creating a culture conflict between miners and those nurturing a new Silver Valley.

Mark W. Stromberg, an official of the federal Superfund project to clean up old mining contamination in the valley, said he was unaware of any organized opposition to the mining expansion. A huge toxic smelter has been largely leveled and removed as part of the cleanup, and the new mining involves expansion underground only and must meet a variety of environmental requirements.

Neal Scholey, sales director at the new Silver Mountain Resort, in Kellogg, said the revival in mining had been largely invisible. “Where are they?” Mr. Scholey said. “The environmental impact is basically nothing.”

The resort, with 277 condominiums built and hundreds more houses and a golf course planned, is an island of precise roof lines and fresh paint a few hundred yards from some of the last, dilapidated remains of old mining operations. The slogan behind the front desk of the sales center says: “Yesterday, Silver. Tomorrow, Gold” — the latter a reference to sunsets, not the metal.

With mining making a comeback, sales representatives strive to balance messages, assuring newcomers that the vacant storefronts in Kellogg will soon turn over with new shops, that the area has a bright future as a resort and that the mining here is now clean and safe.

Jacques Lemieux, a real estate agent with Century 21, works in a small office across the street from the resort and next door to new town houses whose prices, he said, have been lowered to $395,000 from $585,000.

“We maybe got a little ahead of ourselves,” Mr. Lemieux said of the resort boom. “But it’s going to happen.”

Then he nodded east toward Wallace and smiled.

“Wallace is the damnedest town,” he said. “Wallace never gave up the mining dream.”

Sawtooth Apr 12, 2008 5:40 PM

Wallace has got to be one of the most architecturally significant and interesting small towns anywhere in the West and the scenery rules too.
Buying one of the historic victorian homes there would be a wise investment.

jimthemanincda Apr 14, 2008 1:18 AM

Citylink ridership keeps growing

Amy Cannata
April 12, 2008

As Citylink ridership continues to skyrocket, the system is growing out of its existing setup and expanding both facilities and services.

Over the next few months the bus service will build a new maintenance facility and headquarters, buy new buses and begin picking up people with mobility issues at their homes.

"We've just about doubled in a year's time," said Kootenai Metropolitan Planning Organization Chairman Lynn Humphreys.

Citylink Transportation Manager Alan Eirls said the monthly number of riders increased by 5,000 over just the past month.

March 2008 ridership was at 29,271, up from 17,233 in March 2007.

"It's only going to get greater as we reach the summer months and kids start jumping the buses to the movies and the beach," Eirls said.

Success has only made managers of the two-year-old Citylink bus service look for ways to make it even better.

A first place to start is with the buses themselves. Those traveling routes between the Coeur d'Alene Reservation, Coeur d'Alene, Post Falls and Hayden have 200,000 miles on them.

Eirls said Citylink has ordered two new buses at a cost of $130,000 each. The older buses will remain in service as fill-ins when the new buses are undergoing maintenance.

The bus system also recently won two federal grants — one to build the maintenance facility and another to begin an on-demand system to cater to riders who can't get to bus stops and need to be picked up directly at home.

The $588,000 grant coupled with a $139,000 local match will be used to build the maintenance facility at a location in Worley. Eirls said it will have five bus bays, including a wash area and staff offices upstairs. It should be completed this summer.

The second grant is for the on-demand system and several bus shelters in the Worley and Plummer areas. The $225,000 is enough to pay for five shelters and one van, Eirls said.

The details of that on-demand system haven't been finalized, but the basic premise is to help riders who have difficulty getting to bus stops.

A Citylink driver will pick eligible riders up at their homes and then transport them to one of the shelters to wait for a regularly scheduled bus. If it makes more sense because of distance or timing some riders may be taken directly to their destinations, Eirls explained.

Many will just be people trying to get to the Benewah Market or tribal offices.

"Scheduling will be key," he said. "You're going to want to make as many progressive, short hops as possible."

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