Rognstad details 2018 plans, projects

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SANDPOINT — For the city of Sandpoint, 2017 was a busy year of projects and planning, and 2018 will be no exception.

Mayor Shelby Rognstad outlined four main goals of the city during his “state of the city” address during Thursday’s Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce meeting. The first goal, he said, is to continue to focus on quality of life.

“That is really, I believe, the driver that makes our community fantastic,” he said.

The other goals include improving the local economy, focusing on affordability in the community, and to engage the public and address their concerns.

The goals are in line with some of the master planning city officials are working on. The parks master plan was approved by council in 2007, and this year is set to go through some revisions, Rognstad said.

“These are assets that are publicly owned, by you, and they really help, to a huge degree, define that quality of life that we value so much,” Rognstad said.

Memorial Field, Travers Park and the wastewater treatment plant are on the list for upgrades and revisions. The turf at Memorial Field has been an ongoing debate following the construction of new grandstands and other improvements at the field.

City Administrator Jennifer Stapleton said another public workshop regarding the turf is planned for February.

In the meantime, Stapleton said, city staff has taken a “broader look” at the sports fields across the city — when they were being used, how they were being used and the conditions of the fields — to determine if there may be broader opportunities in conjunction with the Memorial Field project.

As for the wastewater treatment plant, the city received a $65,000 wastewater planning grant awarded by the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality last year. The purpose of the project is to evaluate the current wastewater treatment system and identify needed improvements to address new National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit requirements. In the long term, a decision will be made as to whether or not to upgrade the plant at its current site adjacent to Memorial Field and Lakeview Park or move it to a new site. Regionalization is an option as well, Rognstad said.

Another project in the planning stage is City Beach, which extends to the city lot on Sand Creek and Farmin’s Landing. With the Sand Creek Byway crossing over the downtown area, the east side of Bridge Street Bridge has become the “front porch” of Sandpoint, Rognstad said. What they see, he said, is Farmin’s Landing. The city purchased the property in 2016, Rognstad said, which was actually his first act as mayor.

“Right now (at Farmin’s Landing), we have a green bank that every year erodes more into Sand Creek,” Rognstad said. “Perhaps even a larger problem is about half of the stormwater, all of the stormwater on the east end of downtown, flows into Sand Creek right here. We don’t have any stormwater management for the east end of downtown, so this is a huge pollution problem. If we really care about water quality and doing something about it, this becomes a priority area."

Rognstad presented a conceptual design of what the area could look like. Stapleton said it is only one concept of several to come, as it is still in the early stages of planning. A public workshop will be scheduled in sometime in February regarding Farmin’s Landing, she said.

One project coming up this year that has already gone through the planning stage is the downtown revitalization project. The first stage, which includes improvements along Cedar Street between Second and Fifth avenues, is set to begin in June. The project will go to bid in a couple of months, Rognstad said.

“As the spring comes along, we will continue to engage (the public) as much as possible to make sure that you are aware and know what’s coming and when it’s coming so you can be prepared,” Rognstad said.

The project was put on hold last year after the only bid received came in much higher than expected. While he did not go into a lot of detail about the project, Rognstad directed anyone interested to the project website at sandpointstreets.com.

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

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