Sitnews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



What I Want for Christmas
by Mike Harpold


December 02, 2002
Monday - 7:05 pm

The City Council wants to know what projects you want to see pursued in the next few years. According to the weekend edition of the Daily News, the Council will hold public hearings at the Council Chambers at 7:00 pm, Tuesday and Wednesday, December 3rd. and 4th. to take public testimony. I may, or may not, attend, but in case I don't, here is my list.

Mike Harpold

Rebuild the foundation of the old Water Warehouse. The city still owns this structure, most recently the site of a woodworking shop. But it had to be condemned and vacated about a year ago as the foundation and a retaining wall supporting it are crumbling. No one can figure out how to put this historic building to use right now, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be saved. Fronting on Park Avenue and overlooking the Creek, it could be a prime site some day for an artist's or craftsperson's co-op.

Build a parking structure at the corner of Grant and Main Streets, directly across from the police station. The city began development of this lot several years ago and recently purchased the last remaining house on the back corner of the lot. The city has about $1.3 million in its' parking and commercial development fund available for use. Access ramps off from Grant Street would be a natural, permitting the structure to rise four or five levels until the top is level with the old Main School lot. Follow me so far?

The city also owns the old Main School lot which is now sparsely used as a parking lot. The top of the parking garage and the Main School lot can then be joined to form a perfect building site for Ketchikan's own Getty Center. Imagine a performing arts center combined with a museum right in downtown with built-in parking and one of the best views in town.

Reconfigure City Float to allow for a fisherman's market. City Float has become a hub for commercial fishing and charter boat activity. Some fishermen already sell shrimp directly from their boat. Let's devote float or dock space to this activity and provide easy pedestrian access so that more fishermen can sell fresh salmon or halibut from stands, and pedestrians, locals and tourists alike, can buy walkaway shrimp or crab-meat cocktails.

Build a new cruise ship dock. The waterfront area north of City Float offers some prime sites. But hand in hand with new dock space will have to come new infrastructure development. Sidewalks will have to be widened, particularly along Water Street and utility poles taken down, just like we did in downtown. To ease traffic congestion, the city should consider the operation of a motorized step-on, step-off tram along the waterfront from the S curve by Talbott's to Tatsuda's and up Deermount to the Totem Heritage Museum and the Fish Hatchery, something the cruise industry could be encouraged to partner with. Tourism could provide the economic impetus for the preservation of the whole Hopkins Alley neighborhood and local architect Kent Miller has some great ideas for preservation and refurbishing some of the historic waterfront buildings.

Pipe dreams, you say. Well, some people dreamed of a bridge to nowhere and look what they got.


©Mike Harpold
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