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by Inlander Staff

Come One, Come All -- SPOKANE -- When Spokane's Park Board decided to dig into a science center, it had no idea how much interest the idea would generate among potential architects, builders and operators.

It turns out, quite a bit. At a meeting in late January, more than 40 firms sent representatives from as far away as Boston, according to Park Department staff member Paul Crutchfield.

"There were lots of very good questions," says Crutchfield.

The city's Park Board in December issued an initial request to potential developers of a science center. The board's idea is for a private company or group to build and operate a Pacific Science Center-like museum and 3D IMAX theater on the north bank of the Spokane River, across from Riverfront Park.

By the end of March, interested developers and operators must have submitted their qualifications, plans or outlines of how to build the science center/IMAX theater complex. These responses will bring parks officials closer to answering when a science center would go in the ground, who would operate it and, perhaps, who would foot the estimated $11 million bill.

Also in the works for the Riverfront Park is an idea to create a new Howard Street entrance plaza on the south bank, combined with a large fountain.

"This would be, as you can imagine, not your average water fountain," says Crutchfield. "This would be the signature south entrance to Riverfront Park."

Parks officials have issued a request for qualifications from designers and builders, similar to the first one for the science center, due on Monday. Together, the south park plaza and the north bank science center/theater would create the largest parks project since Expo '74, says Crutchfield. "They're really two pieces of a vision."

Last Chance -- COEUR D'ALENE -- The Environmental Protection Agency's final comment deadline on the Bunker Hill-Coeur d'Alene River Basin cleanup plan is fast approaching: Final comments must be postmarked by Feb. 26. The deadline has already been extended three times.

"We don't expect it to be extended any more," says Dick Martindale, community liaison in the EPA's Coeur d'Alene office. Martindale says he is not certain how many comments the EPA has received on the controversial Superfund cleanup plan yet.

"What occurs after the deadline is the EPA is literally responding to all the comments," says Martindale. That's expected to take a couple of months.

The Coeur d'Alene basin cleanup is a 30-year project with a price tag of $359 million. Once the post office closes on Tuesday, no public challenges of the Superfund plan will be allowed, until the project has run its course.

"At the same time as the response to the comments come out, the EPA also issues a Record of Decision (ROD), which then becomes the work plan for the project," says Martindale.

The ROD is then followed by the remedial design and remedial action plans, which give directions as to how the cleanup is going to be carried out.

Several other entities are involved in the cleanup project, including the State of Idaho, the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, the Spokane Tribe, the State of Washington and the Department of the Interior.

"To incorporate all those different agencies, the Idaho legislature has just passed a bill which has formed a Basin Commission," says Martindale. "That commission will oversee the implementation of the ROD. It's a huge project, but if you take it in little steps, it's manageable."

Mail comments to: Sheila Eckman, EPA Region 10, mail stop ECL/113,1200 Sixth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101. E-mail: [email protected]

Evil Thoughts -- SPOKANE -- As the dust settled and the magnitude of the loss on Sept. 11 began to sink in, questions arose about who the "evildoers" were. How could someone do something like that? How could someone be that evil?

The capacity to do evil seems to be inherent in mankind, and to shed some light on this not-so-comfortable fact, Gonzaga University is hosting a lecture by Dr. James Waller, a professor of social psychology at Whitworth College. Waller's newest book, Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killing, is the center of a panel discussion on Wednesday.

"This presentation will outline an explanation for human evil that considers a wide range of factors," Waller says. "Being aware of our own capacity for evil is the best safeguard we have against future genocide."

The lecture and discussion is held on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 7:30 pm at Gonzaga's Jepson Auditorium. Call: 323-6656.

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