[Vision2020] MCA's URA Forum

Bill London london at moscow.com
Thu Jun 19 11:33:34 PDT 2008

here's the Tribune report on the meeting:

Moscow residents eye options for controlled growth of area
Group sees 'Smart Growth' potential between downtown and UI campus

By David Johnson
June 19, 2008

MOSCOW - Moscow has an opportunity to develop the area between downtown and 
the University of Idaho into a mixed-use setting that could set a standard 
for urban development.

If, that is, smart-growth principles are used, participants in a forum here 
agreed Wednesday night.

"There's a great opportunity," said Rachel Winer, executive director of 
Idaho Smart Growth headquartered in Boise. "Moscow already has a vibrant 
downtown. It's walkable. Commercial businesses seem to be doing really well. 
And it really builds a sense of community."

And now, Winer said, the recent creation of the Legacy Crossing Urban 
Renewal District opens the door to extending the vibrancy into the area 
between downtown and the University of Idaho. The district, Winer said, 
offers incentives for smart-growth projects.

"Mixed use, businesses, having some housing down there, pedestrian friendly, 
integrating the creek and connectivity with the university," Winer said. 
"There's some really interesting opportunities."

Brandy Sullivan, a commissioner for the Moscow Urban Renewal Agency and a 
downtown business owner, said the Legacy Crossing district has finally been 
established and all parties have an opportunity to enhance the heart of the 
downtown district.

Rick Beebe, one of several landowners within the district, said he was able 
to raze some of the old grain elevators and sell property to John Anderson, 
who committed to incorporating some of the more viable elevators and 
buildings into development plans.

"The project has been going on a long time," Beebe said, explaining how he 
began efforts to buy property several years ago. "It's difficult as a 
developer to rein in all the groups around you that want to do things. It's 
fortunate that we have the URA involved because that will be the catalyst to 
ensure that we end up with development ... that will be good for all of us."

Anderson, a Viola architect, put together a group of investors more than a 
year ago to rescue a number of the grain elevators from the wrecking ball. 
"It's our mission at the Anderson Group to preserve our historic heritage. 
And the grain elevators that we acquired are a huge component of that."

The forum, sponsored by the Moscow Civic Association, was attended by about 
a dozen people, including Moscow Mayor Nancy Chaney who has been an advocate 
of smart-growth principles. She said the town, through proper development of 
the Legacy Crossing district, has a chance of establishing an "iconic 
presence" in urban development.

Nels Reese, a UI architecture professor, was credited for working with his 
students to create a three-dimensional model of what the Legacy Crossing 
district could become. "It's going to take some very creative work with the 
people who own the land," Reese said, explaining that the area, in addition 
to commercial development, could incorporate high-density housing for upward 
of 1,500 people.

"Most people in the city don't want big apartments built in their 
neighborhoods," Reese said. "This piece of property allows Moscow ... a 
chance of growing without doing suburban sprawl."

Chaney said more people are taking an interest in living within mixed-use 
areas that include close-at-hand amenities. "It's becoming attractive to 
live close to the action," she said.

Tax valuations in an urban renewal project are frozen in the beginning and 
revenues from any increased valuations go toward infrastructure and other 
improvements within the district. No valuation increases are anticipated in 
the Legacy Crossing district until 2012.

The district includes that area of the city where railroad tracks, grain 
elevators and other industrial properties have in many places fallen into 
disrepair. Landowners within the district will be able to build anything 
they want, but must meet certain criteria outlined in the URA plan to 
receive financial help. A URA can also help with so-called "hard" 
infrastructure like water services, public transportation, parking and other 
revitalization projects.


  Johnson may be contacted at deveryone at potlatch.com or (208) 883-0564.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Saundra Lund" <sslund_2007 at verizon.net>
To: <vision2020 at moscow.com>
Sent: Thursday, June 19, 2008 10:29 AM
Subject: [Vision2020] MCA's URA Forum

> Visionaries:
> Would anyone who was able to attend last night's MCA Legacy Crossing URA
> forum care to share any comments with the rest of us?  I was unfortunately
> unable to attend and would love to hear from those of you who were able to
> be there.
> Thanks,
> Saundra Lund
> Moscow, ID
> The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do
> nothing.
> ~ Edmund Burke
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