Friday, January 18, 2008

Why Controversy Flourishes

The longer I in live in this area the more bewildered I become.   A headline in the Press this morning reads Grant application hits red light. Wow. A red light for a red light.

What makes this controversial is the fact it concerns a traffic light for access to the Kroc Center. When the city began the process to bring the Kroc Center to Coeur d'Alene, I would have thought they would have done traffic studies as part of site selection. I'm wondering, why, after the city was granted the Center budgeting was not done for the installation of the light plus any other improvements to the roads that might be needed.

It would seem from the article they were depending on a grant for funding. Grants are tenuous at best. It does not seem to me to be a prudent way to plan for public safety issues when there is a concrete need; not a tenuous one.

The cost is $350,000 dollars. The Salvation Army, who owns the Kroc Center is putting up $100,000. This seems a disproportionate amount since the improvements are for their facility. Since the grant was for $247,000 the City now has to find that amount. Where?

While I think the traffic estimates are an "in your dreams" figure, the light is necessary. The need has been made known to LCDC, the urban renewal agency. They have already given $500,000 of tax payer money to a project that wasn't to cost the tax payers a dime.

Wisely, LCDC has told the City to exhaust all other funding sources before returning to them. If a return is necessary, however, is this the proper use of LCDC money? To bail out bad planning and budgeting by the City? I think not. But watch out folks. You've got the controversial Kroc Center and the controversial LCDC bubbling in the same cauldron once again. 

Be careful or it may boil over.


Camellia Underhill said...

I've never understood this whole kettle (no pun intended) of fish. First, Joan Kroc leaves $6 million for a center. To be a gift to the city. The council tells us no tax dollars will be used. Then hands over $3 million to the SA along with $500,000.00 from LCDC for this "gift" that actually belongs to the SA, not CDA. Now, after receiving all this tax money (so much for promises) the SA still can't ante up for a traffic signal for their facility. apparently studies show the wait, without a signal, at this intersection will be 15 minutes. Beats me!

Word Tosser said...

They put a light in at the intersection of McGhee Road and Hywy 200. For Coldwater Creek. So we locals during the day, sit there and wait for the light to change. Because if one car comes out of CWC and turns right with the flow of traffic, it kicks in the light. We sit there after the car has already cleared the light and is half way to town. And during the rush hour, the light kicks in for CWC workers every time they get in the turn lane.
We just smile.... ya right