Proposed asphalt plant upsets Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes group



Posted on May 14, 2014 at 10:13 AM

KINGSTON, Idaho -- A proposed asphalt plant in North Idaho was drawing criticism from people who use a nearby bike trail. The plant would go right up against the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes bike path in Kingston.

Some people said the plant would be an eyesore and would ruin the experience of tourists using the bike path. On the other hand, the plant could potentially put a dent in Shoshone County’s high unemployment rate. The county had one of the highest unemployment rates in Idaho in May.

A group that cares for the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes said they were in support of economic development in the area but did not want an asphalt plant against the trail.

“[It's] 72 miles of paved, non motorized, biking and hiking bliss,” Rick Shaffer said of the trail.

Shaffer helps run the non-profit group that promotes and maintains the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes.

"This asphalt plant will affect how people feel about this trail,” said Shaffer.

A Sandpoint company proposed building the plant on nearly 20-acres of land. The asphalt would be used for various road projects in the area.

Shaffer said the plant’s proximity to the trail would drive tourists, and their checkbooks, away.

"But bringing something in that just doesn't look good. Asphalt plants are notoriously smelly, and have a big effect on the ascetics and the smell. And they're very unsightly,” said Shaffer.

Shaffer said he would like to see the plant somewhere else. He said he just did not want it next to the trail.

"We're all for economic development - we just want to see it done in the right way,” said Shaffer.

The Shoshone County Planning and Zoning Department was set to hold a meeting to discuss the proposal on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.