[Vision2020] Candidates for mayor see growth for Moscow

Moscow Cares moscowcares at moscow.com
Sun Nov 5 08:51:23 PST 2017

Courtesy of today’s (November 5, 2017) Spokesman-Review.


Candidates for mayor see growth for Moscow

Ten years ago, left-leaning Moscow city councilors perceived as having anti-growth views were swept away by three Greater Moscow Alliance-backed members. Linda Pall was one of the left-leaning incumbent members who was ousted. Now, she is running for mayor against incumbent mayor Bill Lambert, a pro-growth councilor who kept his seat in 2007 and was joined by Walter Steed among others.

Pall said the anti-growth characterization placed on her and other councilors at the time was “absolutely” unfair.

It is quite reasonable to have development, she says.

“But I don’t want that development to be at the cost of the livability of Moscow,” Pall said.

She said it should be the right size for the city.

Part of the anti-growth perception existed because she and other councilors did not think it would be a great idea to allow Walmart, which she said could be found anywhere else – including Pullman – to come to Moscow.

Today she says Walmart is a fine store and a great asset on Warbonnet Drive where even she shops.

She said the perception was also there because she thought development should serve the larger interests of Moscow rather than building anything that takes away from Moscow’s character.

“We want to maintain the uniqueness and the livability of who we are and what we are,” Pall said, while at the same time saying big box stores such as Target would be a great advantage for Moscow.

Lambert said he does not mind big box stores coming to Moscow.

Running off Walmart a decade ago was a bad idea, Lambert said, and when the Pullman Walmart was built, many Idaho license plates could be seen in the parking lot, which meant Moscow lost out on those tax dollars.

He and Moscow City Councilman John Weber were the only two councilors in favor of a Walmart in Moscow at the time, Lambert said.

Pall said the vacant Old Dumas Seed Site on the corner of A and Almon streets would be a great residential spot for people of all ages.

She said it is an opportunity to promote Moscow as a retirement destination.

Lambert said the vacant lot would be a good area for apartments.

Moscow Community Development Director Bill Belknap told the Daily News on Thursday that Noel Blum, founder of Blum Construction LLC, recently purchased the lot and is in the planning stages for development. Belknap said he believes the property will be largely residential with construction to start in the next year or two.

“We are at a cusp here and we could go toward that wonderful future that we would all like to see for downtown Moscow and for development in Moscow, or we could blow it,” Pall said.

Pall said she wants to make sure the livability, joy and great possibilities for Moscow do not disappear.

“If we do not make sure that there is high-quality design in our community, we are going to lose the edge,” Pall said.

She said that not only includes buildings, but parks and other things.

Pall said the UI College of Art and Architecture should be at the center of it.

Pall suggested building a new Palouse Ice Rink near Palouse Mall, where the the rink would help support the businesses there.

She said when parents drop their children off at practice, they could go shopping.

She does not know exactly where the rink could be built.

“I do not have all the answers,” she said. “I work best in that particular role as spark plug.”

Lambert also said he is in favor of a full-sized ice rink, but said its current location at the Latah County Fairgrounds would still be the best place for it.

Lambert said the ice rink is important because it keeps children busy during winter. Plus, he said a new rink would bring teams and their families from out of town to Moscow, which would help boost Moscow’s economy.

Pall urged development of the areas west of Jackson Street near the entrance to the university, including areas next to Paradise Creek along the Sixth Street entrance to campus.

Pall said a boutique hotel looking toward the university would enhance downtown.

Lambert said development is important to Moscow. He said he is a big fan of the proposed Moscow urban renewal district on the south side of town.

The district would provide a place for such businesses as a small manufacturing plant, he said. The new businesses would create good-paying jobs, which results in an improved economy for other businesses in town, he said.

“We’re looking forward to getting that done,” Lambert said. “That’s critical for the next 20, 30, 40, 50 years.”

Lambert said moving toward a water supply alternative is significant so development is not restricted due to water shortages.

“As soon as you start restricting growth you kill business,” Lambert said.

He said Moscow needs growth to create more taxpayers, which in turn, helps sustain infrastructure improvements.

Lambert said more mixed-use buildings would be nice to see downtown, such as the soon-to-be Sangria Downtown LLC development on the corner of Sixth and Jackson streets. The building will have the Sangria Grille restaurant on the ground floor and apartments on the second and third floors.

“You’re taking one space and you’re going up with it,” Lambert said of mixed-use buildings. “That makes total sense.”

Lambert said too much development downtown could damage the character of the downtown core, so finding a development balance is key.

He said he would like to see more availability of condominiums and smaller housing for retirees since he said people are retiring in Moscow.

“We need to grow, we need to build,” Lambert said.



Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .

"Moscow Cares" (the most fun you can have with your pants on)
Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho
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