A two-decade term of service

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Ed Spooner hopes that the city of St. Maries can attract new business while still staying true to its logging community’s roots. He believes it’s possible.

And after 20 years in local government, he has seen what can happen with a dedicated city council.

Ed Spooner, lifetime resident of St. Maries and owner of Fast Eddie's, has served on the St. Maries city council for two decades. He did not seek re-election this term, retiring after more than 20 years.

Ed Spooner, lifetime resident of St. Maries and owner of Fast Eddie’s, has served on the St. Maries city council for two decades. He did not seek re-election this term, retiring after more than 20 years.

Mr. Spooner will retire from the St. Maries city council this month after more than two decades of service. Although still open to being involved in politics in the future, he chose not to run for re-election this year after he felt the work the council was putting forth stalled.

“The council had become stagnant, and I wasn’t used to that,” he said.

Mr. Spooner said he had seen times when that wasn’t the case. He is especially proud of the work that he was able to contribute to, alongside George Currier, the paving of St. Maries’ streets.

“That was huge for St. Maries,” he said. “I travel around Idaho and see a lot of cities that don’t have paved streets. George worked very hard, and the council made that happen.”

He is also pleased with the work that went into revitalizing Main Avenue but would have liked to have seen it continued. More than a decade ago, a local improvement district tax allowed for the city to make aesthetic improvements along Main Avenue. Lighting and landscaping was built into the islands through town, and beautification efforts along city sidewalks were initiated. But the project didn’t extend throughout the entirety of Main Avenue, something that Mr. Spooner would have liked to have seen.

He also regrets that the plan to reroute logging truck traffic around Main Avenue has not been started.

“The thing I really wished we would have done was the truck route, the Railroad Avenue project. We worked on that quite a bit,” he said. “I would have liked to see that done. I have no problem with trucks in town, it’s just hard on main street. We are a logging community; that’s who we are.”

He also hopes that the current and future councils can improve the city’s water system, an issue that has plagued the city for years.

Mr. Spooner said he believes the past two years saw a decline in production by the council, but he had the pleasure of working with some forward-thinking council members.

“Dick Burch was a move-forward kind of council member; during the Rochat Creek project, he did some things that were huge to make things there happen,” he said. “Rudy Brandvold and Dick McEwen were great, and Donny Masterson was very focused.”

Mr. Spooner was born and raised in St. Maries, left to attend North Idaho College and returned to work for Potlatch Corp. for 18 years. In 1992, he and a partner opened Fast Eddie’s, and he continues to operate the business.

Commerce, he believes, is key to the future of St. Maries.

“We need industry,” he explained. “We are very blessed to have what we have – two major timber companies in our valley – but we need businesses, small or large.”

Mr. Spooner is active with parish council at the St. Mary’s Catholic Church and plans to remain involved in local government.

“For now, I’ll step back and watch what goes on, go to meetings, be involved, be the hand-raiser,” he said. “We have a very good council now. I see some very good people that got voted in. As long as they remember they are the ones who are responsible. Don’t just get on and be there, be involved.”

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