Covered bus shelters coming soon

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(Photo by MARY MALONE) Jeff Jones Town Square will be the first site for a covered SPOT bus shelter this spring.

SANDPOINT — Selkirks-Pend Oreille Transit will soon have covered shelters at various stops around Sandpoint, Ponderay, Dover and Kootenai.

Sandpoint council members approved the site for the first shelter during a special meeting Monday. The first shelter is a demonstration example and will be located at the northwest corner of Jeff Jones Town Square. 

All of the shelters will be built by area youth through the Eureka Institute's Construction Basics Initiative program.

"As part of our programming at the Eureka Institute, about four years ago we decided to teach at-risk youth the concepts around construction and building," said Steve Holt, executive director of the Eureka Institute. "We’ve done several projects at our retreat out in Sagle, and as the years went on, we decided we wanted to bring some projects to Sandpoint and have kids do community service work."

Since then, the kids have built benches and donated them to the Sandpoint senior center and done some projects at Kinderhaven as well, Holt said.

"Then we started talking to the municipalities and what we could do for them, and that's where the whole concept of us contributing to the bus shelter program came about," he said.

The shelters will be funded by a variety of local sources throughout the community, Holt said. Some funding has already been provided by the Equinox Foundation and more funds are expected soon through the Federal Transportation Authority.

On the Eureka Institute website at eureka-institute.org, there is an opportunity for the public to "be a part of building this community legacy." Sponsorship bricks are available for purchase for $250 for a four-by-eight, $500 for an eight-by-eight, or $1,000 for a 12-by-12 with a business logo option.

"Right now, even know you haven’t seen one yet, we have made a lot of progress," Holt said. "We have an approved design for it, we have steel frames made by Mountain Metals on Baldy ... This spring, we are hoping to at least get up four, if not six of them."

During Monday's meeting, council members approved a couple of other agreements, including an approval for the Arts Commission to apply for the Idaho Community Foundation Grant of up to $10,000 for public art installation on Cedar Street.

Council also approved an agreement with Ednetics Inc. for voice over internet protocol services.

The service will include telephone replacement in all city departments to improve communication, efficiency, portability of communications and integrate security. Service will include enhanced 911 services, end-to-end monitoring, back end maintenance and day-to-day operational changes. At a monthly service total of $2,814.63, city administrator Jennifer Stapleton said the city will benefit by a reduction of monthly costs.

"This will be a much improved service and the public will see the benefit of us upgrading to this new system as well," Stapleton said.

Finally, during last week's regular council meeting, staff discussed hiring an outside consultant to facilitate public workshops before a final decision is made regarding the Business Improvement District. Council members approved a $15,000 contract Monday with Roger Woodworth for that service. Woodworth, of Mindset Matters in Spokane, is a strategist, facilitator and advisor. He will conduct a community involvement and assessment process for the BID and make a final recommendation to council based on the input received.

Four or five workshops will be held prior to July 20, when council members will make a decision whether or not to dissolve the BID. The date could be extended, though, dependant on the amount of input received by business owners within the BID by that time. No date has been set at this time for the first workshop.

Mary Malone can be reached by email at mmalone@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.

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