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Practice bear safety The bears are out of hibernation — at least a few are.

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9/4/2013
Bullseye, times 2

On two points, Ketchikan's legislative lobbying executive committee is spot on.

The first is the addition of a member to represent the business community.

That member would be chosen from the Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce, a nonprofit organization of private individuals and corporations who've put their own capital on the line for the economic well-being of Ketchikan and Saxman.

This group has experience in private capital projects. Their success produces private-sector jobs and taxes to pay for government operations.

Some in this group have stepped up to serve on the local government bodies; their participation has been integral in the current capital project funding priority list.

With their colleagues on these bodies, they've composed a list of essential capital projects to be submitted to the governor and Legislature upon its finalization by the elected officials of the cities of Ketchikan and Saxman and the Ketchikan Gateway Borough's. The committee consists of members from the three local governments; together they prepare a list of the community's top funding requests to the Legislature.

The list begins with the ever-necessary expansion of the Swan Lake dam, a Southeast Alaska Power Agency project. The request is for $12.3 million. A recent power outage and the ever-rising demand for power best illustrate the reason this project is number one.

A $13.7 million request to build an Alaska Marine Highway System and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association berth and a Ward Cove ferry terminal and layup facility speaks directly to infrastructure. Infrastructure is the backbone of an economy.

The shipyard is another economic engine in the community. With $3 million, Ketchikan Shipyard will undergo improvements necessary to advance and continue to provide good-paying jobs.

The shellfish industry offers all kinds of potential for Alaska with its clean water. Building a land-based hatchery will enable that industry to continue to grow. The request is for $2.4 million.

Mahoney Lake hydroelectric project, Ketchikan International Airport, Saxman Community Center and repairs to existing street viaducts all speak to infrastructure and the economy.

At this juncture in Ketchikan, it's all about providing infrastructure to not only maintain, but build the economy, providing jobs in Ketchikan.

This list is Ketchikan's economic future in a nutshell. The local governments, with the Chamber's increased participation, can make it happen.