Prospects for the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail just got a lot better.

The Sandpoint City Council Wednesday night voted to include money in its budget to purchase shoreline property on the southern end of the proposed two-mile trail corridor.

This property could be the anchor for a waterfront park and trail  that would span more than a mile of shoreline in Bonner County’s urban center, connecting the cities of Sandpoint, Ponderay and Kootenai.

As part of a proposed deal with the Hall family, the city of Sandpoint would purchase all the Hall waterfront property within Sandpoint’s city limits-which is the last undeveloped stretch of waterfront in the city-over the next two years.

The deal also includes the option to buy more than 4,000 feet of shoreline from the Halls in Ponderay’s city limits within four years. The Friends of the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail has committed to raising funds for 1,600 feet of the waterfront, while the city of Ponderay is looking at how it can purchase the rest.

At last night’s meeting, more than 50 people turned out to encourage the Sandpoint City Council to approve the purchase.

They shared heartfelt testimony about their much-loved lake  and why the city should not pass up this opportunity to improve public access to it for now and future generations.

They weren’t disappointed-the council clearly shares the public’s love for our precious Lake Pend Oreille.