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Waterfront design competition moves forward

by CAROLINE LOBSINGER
Staff Writer | August 3, 2023 1:00 AM

Curious about the Waterfront Design Competition finalists’ visions of Sandpoint’s future?

You can get a peek at the designs in person this weekend, as city officials will be at the farmers market to showcase what the teams have come up with.

The city received the design packets from the three Phase 2 teams earlier in the day, City Administrator Jennifer Stapleton told Sandpoint Planning & Zoning Commission members Tuesday.

Selected for the second phase are: First Forty Feet with Greenworks, Fehr & Peers, Century West Engineering, and North Root Architecture; GGLO + Bernardo Wills with Welch Comer, Greg Moller, Erin Blue, and Sarah Thompson Moore; and Skylab with PLACE, KPFF, PAE & LUMA, Brightworks, and ECONorthwest.

Display boards showcasing the proposals will be on display at the Sandpoint Farmers Market on the next two Saturdays between 8 a.m. and noon.

A schedule of where the public can check out the proposals is expected to be released by the city by the end of the week. Stapleton said the city expects to have the designs on display every day until Aug. 15, when the teams are scheduled to present their concepts to the jury.

That meeting will be open to the public. The meetings will also be live-streamed and posted to the city’s YouTube channel following the presentations, Stapleton said.

In addition to the display boards, the city administrator said there are also accompanying booklets that dive into the teams’ concepts.

“So there’s a lot of content, but at least the public can start with the visuals, and there’s the opportunity to see the presentations as well,” she said.

The designs will also be available online, which will allow for public comment through that avenue as well, she said.

The jury will then evaluate the proposals as well as input from the public, Stapleton said.

Created to help the city combine multiple working master plans for the downtown area into one master document, city officials said previously that the design competition provides an opportunity to gain a new design perspective on how the properties should be handled, with an emphasis on its waterfront area and City Beach.

The competition is done in three phases. Stage 1 began with an open call out to potential design teams, who were required to submit portfolios based on the criteria outlined in the manual. The eight teams that heard the call had their portfolios checked for compliance by a group of residents and industry experts who selected the three design teams that moved on to the second phase.

All of the teams — especially the three selected to move forward in the second phase — are all strong teams, city officials said in April in announcing their picks from eight total submissions from throughout the country.

"There wasn't a loser in the bunch," competition manager Don Stastny said at the time. "I mean, any one of them could have taken on this project and done an excellent job for us. So it's really just finding the best of the best."

Each of the teams has a strong local element in addition to a diverse range of disciplines, from community design and placemaking to architects, ecologists and engineers.

Stastny said the process is set up to engage the public and seek input from the community in a structured way. It is also set up to ensure each of the three teams is treated equally, gives them the same information, and then turned them loose to draft a vision that solves the challenges outlined in the city's competition design manual.

"This is a plan for the people, for the community," Stastny told those gathered for an introduction to the teams in April. "And we hope that through the process, we'll be able to tie a lot of these different efforts that have been going on within the city together to the point that it will serve as kind of a blueprint or a roadmap for how to go forward for the next number of years to maintain the community to maintain the values of the community and being able to do it in a constructive fashion."

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