City holding off on feasibility study for U of I property

By Cameron Rasmusson
Reader Staff

The city of Sandpoint is taking a wait-and-see approach to ordering a feasibility study for the University of Idaho Boyer property.

An overhead view of the University of Idaho extension property on North Boyer, with the top of the photo facing east. Courtesy photo.

In an update to the Sandpoint City Council Wednesday night, City Administrator Jennifer Stapleton said the most sensible option was to wait until after July 6 to initiate a feasibility study. By that point, officials anticipate receiving proposals from developers in response to a request issued by the city. These proposals could provide the city with more coherent options to build upon, such as a public-private partnership to establish a local recreation center.

The delay will also give more opportunity to clarify what role the Sandpoint Urban Renewal Agency may need to play in acquiring the property or establishing a recreation center.

The decision to delay a feasibility study follows a meeting between representatives of the city, SURA and the University of Idaho, as well as advising attorneys and consultants. Stapleton added that if University of Idaho officials don’t see progress, they may begin marketing the property themselves.

“That may not necessarily be a bad option because that might show who else is interested in the property and could drive a feasibility study,” she said.

This will be an ongoing topic of interest as the city moves into its budgeting phase later this summer. Stapleton said that city officials can then investigate revenue options — the resort city tax or local option tax, for instance — and establish a clearer plan to work toward.

“Our plan is to keep this as a topic in council meetings moving forward so this is a continuing topic of discussion,” Stapleton said.

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