River’s Edge wants to create a publicly accessible riverfront trail through its property. But in order to do this, the City of Coeur d’Alene will have to approve our proposal for a revised rezoning plan. 

Right now, the development plan does not allow River’s Edge to put in a riverfront trail. Instead, the trail will run between houses and a parking lot. Under the new plan, the trail would run along the river, and we would own and maintain the public access trail. We believe this is the best way to protect the quality of the space, and also believe it would benefit the city and its residents.


To Get a Public Trail, the Development Plan Would Change

The River’s Edge apartment development in Coeur d’Alene sits south of Seltice Way along the Spokane River, bordered by the U.S. Bank call center to the west, and the Atlas Mill development to the east. The River’s Edge development is already approved, and construction is underway. But we want to redesign the layout to allow public riverfront access, and our new proposal will be coming before the Coeur d’Alene City Council soon.

In the Atlas Mill development, there is a riverfront trail. On the U.S. Bank side of our property, there is also a trail, but it is set back from the river, running behind a row of riverfront houses and the U.S. Bank call center. It is not a very picturesque trail, to say the least; those who use it cannot see the river at all. Unfortunately, the River’s Edge trail would follow this pattern, routing the trail between another row of riverfront houses, a storage facility, and apartment parking lots. 

The new proposal would change all of this, and shift the trail to the river side of the development. It would give trail-users access to the river all the way from the west side of the development to the east side, where it would meet up directly with the Atlas Mill trail. The plan would essentially create a riverfront esplanade, giving the public access to a 40-foot-wide area along the river, adorned with trees, landscaping, a trail, beach access, sitting areas, and tables. 

In order to do this, the plan makes several other changes. First, it would change the zoning of the entire parcel from partially commercial to all residential. This means getting rid of the two-story rental storage facility, and replacing it with additional apartment housing. 

Second, the plan would eliminate the row of single-family riverfront houses. To make this feasible, more apartment housing would take their place, but all construction would be set back further from the riverfront: instead of a 40-foot set-back, there would be an 80-foot set-back from the river. Overall, the change would create about 40% more open space on the property than the existing plan. 


How a Privately-Owned Trail Benefits the Public

Some people may be thinking that it would be better if River’s Edge gave this area of land to the City of Coeur d’Alene for the city to build the trail, rather than keeping it in the hands of the River’s Edge development. We believe that keeping ownership of the property private would actually serve the public better, and here’s why.

As part of the River’s Edge Complex, the trail should be maintained by the private property owners who will benefit the most from this riverfront area. The responsibility for keeping the area clean, in good repair, and generally well-maintained can be handled privately, while the city focuses its attention on the many larger spaces like the beautiful McEuen Park, which are more generally accessible to all the residents in the area. Smaller recreational sites like the River’s Edge esplanade are understandably going to be lower on the list of maintenance priorities for the city’s parks and recreation staff, and the City of Coeur d’Alene does not need any additional burdens. 

The attractiveness of this site is critical to making our development a desirable place to live. We have a very strong and clear incentive to keep this area clean and well-maintained, and to make it as beautiful as possible.  Private ownership would give us the ability to achieve that, rather than depend on the city. We would be able to hire our own workers to take care of the area, and the funds to do so would come from apartment rents paid by our tenants, and not the pockets of taxpayers. We are confident that the people who want to live in this development would be willing to pay a little more for the added benefit and convenience of having a beautiful riverfront recreational area just outside their doors.

There is another benefit to private ownership: we would be able to provide security to the area. This means that we could decide what steps to take to protect the homes and property of those who live in the adjoining apartments, and make sure that no trespassers or troublemakers disrupt the ability of others to enjoy the public space. 

On private property, property owners have a right to bar trespassers. This cannot be said of public property. Unfortunately, today, that means that disruptive people can cause all sorts of problems for others who simply want to enjoy public spaces. Part of our vision is that this riverfront esplanade should be a place where families can safely bring their children to play in the water. We do not want our residents or others on the property to have to worry about unwelcome noises and behaviors. By keeping the property in private hands, we have greater leeway to promote a more wholesome and pleasant atmosphere for everyone.

If you would like more information about our proposed changes, please look through the maps and details on our website. We hope you will agree that this will improve our current plan, and that you will support our rezoning application to the Coeur d’Alene City Council.