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Mayor Rognstad

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News from the desk of the Mayor:

Lunch With The Mayor: Sustain Quality of Life

Post Date:11/08/2017 1:28 PM

This article is the third of a four-part series describing my goals and priorities as mayor of Sandpoint.  Those are:  1) Engage the public to address community concerns 2) Improve the local economy 3)  Sustain quality of life for Sandpoint residents 4) Keep Sandpoint affordable.

Priority #3:  Sustain Quality of life

Normally When I speak of quality of life, I discuss the importance of improving access to resources and affordability, preserving and protecting water and air quality, maintaining Sandpoint’s world class park system and supporting our abundance of recreational opportunities.  Investing in these assets not only makes life better for those of us lucky enough to call Sandpoint home, but it attracts tourism, jobs and creates an exciting, prosperous future for Sandpoint from which we all benefit. 

Currently, the City is undergoing a comprehensive plan revision along north Boyer Avenue.  This sub-area review brings under consideration future use of the University of Idaho Boyer property and the areas surrounding it.  This comprehensive plan review will culminate in a development request for proposal in the Spring of 2018.  This planning effort represents an extraordinary opportunity for us to address a number of my goals relating to quality of life:  increase access to affordable housing, increase access to open space and waterways, conservation of natural habitats--flora and fauna, preservation of water quality, buildable commercial and industrial lands that support job growth and access to recreational opportunities.  All these goals can be achieved through collaboration, careful planning and creative use of the Boyer property. You are invited to share your thoughts at the Planning and Zoning Commission public hearing on November 14th at 5:30 pm in the Council Chambers.

The City is also developing a conceptual design for Farmin’s Landing property along Sand Creek between the Panida and Bridge St.  Our aim is to restore the eroding stream bank, capture and filter downtown storm water, provide safe multimodal access from the bike path to the pedestrian bridge and improve public space and access along the waterfront, beautify this “front porch” of our downtown and improve auto access to parking facilities while maintaining public parking.  Completion of the Plan, and this project in particular, will improve the look and feel of downtown, transportation safety, water quality, access to waterfront and recreation and it will make downtown even more attractive to business and tourism. 

Another quality of life asset that may often be taken for granted is safety.  Over the last 6 months, a mass flyer and email campaign has challenged the identity of this community as a tolerant, welcoming community.  Fake flyers perpetrated by a few rogue haters have threatened people of color, Jews, local journalists and human rights leaders.  The fake flyers challenge the very identity of our community as a safe place to live, raise a family, visit and recreate. Numerous fake flyers, falsely claiming to be from me, were mailed to businesses and homes in Sandpoint.  Let me state once again, and for the sake of clarity, that I have NOT sent any flyers to anyone.  These fake flyers use inflammatory language intended to incite fear, anger and division in our community. Please report anyone you see distributing these fake flyers to the police immediately.

I am proud of our community.  Sandpoint residents have responded to the fake flyers with resilience by coming together to denounce the hateful messaging. Together we reaffirm our values of inclusion and our commitment to public safety.  Sustaining quality of life requires that everyone feel safe and included in their community and that we respect each other for our differences.  I remain vigilant with you, my fellow citizens, to ensure that we settle for nothing less than quality of life for everyone.

This series is in preparation for a new “Lunch With The Mayor” informal meeting to be held on the last Thursday of the month beginning October 26th, from 12-1pm at the Cedar Street Bistro in the Cedar Street Bridge.

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Mayor Rognstad at deskShelby Rognstad was born and raised in Lewiston, Idaho.  A fourth generation Idahoan, Shelby moved to Sandpoint in 1999.  Shelby first came here to practice permaculture after graduating with a liberal arts degree from the University of Idaho in 1998.  In 2006, he opened Common Knowledge Bookstore and Café.  In addition to selling new and used books, it served breakfast and lunch using locally sourced and organic foods. In 2013, Shelby co-founded The Hive, an entertainment venue in downtown Sandpoint.  Since 2012, Shelby has worked in real estate holding and private lending in North Idaho and Eastern Washington. 

Shelby served on the steering committee and Board of Directors for Sandpoint Transition Initiative (2007-2008) and has supported other local nonprofits, including Sandpoint Community Radio, the Public Forum on Sustainability, Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper and the Eureka Institute.  He practices yoga and Vipassanā Meditation and has volunteered at Vipassanā Meditation Centers in Washington, British Columbia and Puerto Rico.   He is active year round in sports and outdoor activities. 


Shelby’s public service began in 2007 when he was appointed to the Sandpoint Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee.  In 2009, he was appointed to the Sandpoint Planning and Zoning Commission.  He served as Vice Chair until he was appointed to the City Council by Mayor Ogilvie on January 18, 2012.  Shelby was elected City Council President in February of 2014.  In November of 2015, he was elected Mayor and was sworn in on January 6, 2016.


Education and Workforce Training: 

While in office, Mayor Rognstad intends to work with employers, educators and community leaders to develop workforce training and higher education opportunities in Sandpoint.  The Mayor recognizes the importance and value of North Idaho College and the PTECH (Pathways to Technology in Early College High School) program in Sandpoint.  Sandpoint is fortunate to have excellent options in K-12 education.  However, more needs to be done to foster greater opportunities for youth and to develop an educated, skilled workforce in Sandpoint’s growing technology and health care industries.  For these reasons, supporting PTECH and the growth of NIC locally are high priorities.


In recent years, Sandpoint has seen significant growth in technology related industries.  Aerospace, biomedical and information technology, in particular, have taken a foothold.  High tech employers provide high paying jobs that serve a global market.  The result is an increasingly diversified economy that ensures economic stability.  The Mayor intends to continue to support these growing industries and attract new employers to Sandpoint.  By serving the needs of existing companies and leveraging assets, the City will retain quality employers and attract the right kind of growth and development in the future.   


Mayor Rognstad is committed to improving the quality of life in Sandpoint.  This requires a commitment to sustaining environmental health for which Sandpoint has taken many steps in recent years.  We’ve partnered with Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper to develop an herbicide-free weed management program for the lake.  We’ve created a city-wide zoning code which encourages multimodal connectivity, energy efficiency, community oriented design and reduces our carbon footprint.  Looking forward, the Mayor intends to reduce herbicide use in city parks, complete the implementation of the City’s storm water management plan and ensure long term protection of the City’s watershed. 


From the mountain to the lake, Sandpoint boasts many recreational opportunities.  Residents and visitors alike have long enjoyed the benefits of our signature assets: Lake Pend Oreille and Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort.  However, recent additions like the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail, the Sand Creek Trail and the Watershed Crest Trail have been welcomed additions to our world class park system.  Mayor Rognstad will continue to develop opportunities like these in the future. 

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