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Deciding how best to expand Ketchikan’s port to accommodate the expected growth in the size of cruise ships and numbers of passengers is an exciting process.
We’ve appreciated the opportunities for the public to learn about the potential options for berth expansion and upland developments. Stakeholders with a variety of interests have been able to weigh in with observations and concerns — which the City of Ketchikan and its consultants should weigh thoroughly while developing changes that have maximum benefits with minimum drawbacks.
Ketchikan is fortunate that it’s in a position to expand and improve its port and related infrastructure. Indeed, not every community has an industry that’s shown such reliable growth during the past quarter century.
In 1992, about 263,000 cruise ship passengers visited the First City. More than 1 million passengers arrived here in 2017.
It’s safe to say that the cruise industry expansion has driven many of the visible changes seen by Ketchikan — especially downtown — since the early 1990s.
During that time, Ketchikan has worked diligently to upgrade its port facilities to allow for and accommodate the industry’s growth. Local entrepreneurs and others have stepped up to provide passengers with a range of excursion, retail and other options that help make Ketchikan the popular port of call that it is.
The changes have not been appreciated by every resident, but most can agree that Ketchikan has received substantial benefits from the cruise industry’s presence and growth.
The current planning effort is Ketchikan’s next step in providing adequate infrastructure for the optimum mutual benefit of the cruise industry and community.
Planning well now is the best guarantee for future success.