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2/8/2019
City to explore waterfront sale

By SAM ALLEN 
Daily New Staff Writer

The Ketchikan City Council made strides toward selling city property to K&B Real Estate at Thursday night’s council meeting.

The property at 809 Water St. is actually a few triangular-shaped pieces between the existing waterfront and promenade that would square up property K&B already owns.

“I guess you could call it waterfront, but it’s really over water — I guess that’s a little different than waterfront,” said Public Works Director Mark Hilson.

“One (piece) is over 100 feet long and one foot wide on one end,” Hilson said. “So these aren’t really useful properties. They’re really akin to a remnant of land that is separate from the rest of the parcel via road.”

Council Member Judy Zenge clarified with Hilson that an official land assessment is not needed.

The price of the adjoining property was used to establish the value of the pieces, according to city documents.

“Using the actual cost of the property next door on a square-foot basis puts the purchase price at $53,843,” said Hilson.

Hilson vaguely described what a general construction procedure might looks like: DOT approval, piles would be set, platform built, staging of materials and equipment, the bulk of work would (ideally) take place in the off-season so as to not interfere with pedestrian traffic on the promenade.

Hilson said that K&B will not be relying on the structure of the existing promenade to support any of their structure, although someone would be able to walk freely between them.

“I do have a concern about how we manage the access points to the promenade,” said Council Member Dick Coose, “They could become an issue. So I think as it moves forward, we have to be in on the design and how they are done and so forth, so they don't become an obstruction.”

The council voted 6-0 to approve a first reading of an ordinance that would allow for the sale. Two readings of the ordinance and a public hearing are required before it can take effect.

Two representatives of K&B were at the meeting Thursday as a resource to the council, but neither were asked questions about the project.

More than half a dozen members from the Joseph T. Craig American Legion Post #3 in Ketchikan were present to accept a signed joint proclamation from Ketchikan City Mayor Bob Sivertsen recognizing March 15 as “American Legion Centennial Day.”

The proclamation was also signed by Ketchikan Gateway Borough Mayor David Landis and Saxman Mayor Richard Shields Sr.

When presented with the proclamation, the American Legion’s James Horn and Post Commander Jeremiah Sullivan gave Sivertsen a gold American Legion Department of Alaska centennial coin.

Horn spoke about Post #3, which was formed in 1919 and the work it does for the community.

“We’ve been here 100 years and we’re proud of helping the community,” said Horn.

He talked about the work the American Legion did during the 1930s, working with different Native clans bringing totems into Ketchikan.

This month the American Legion is holding an oratorical contest, in which the contestants have to speak about the U.S Constitution. There’s a state competition and national competition, as well.

“We had one local girl here who went up to the national level and won a $14,000 scholarship,” said Horn.

Horn also noted the Legion did work to help with the Shop with Cops event late last year.

“We live and work for our community, Horn said, “100 years and it’s just the beginning.”

The council then recognized Doug Ward, outgoing director of shipyard development for Vigor Alaska, for all the work he’s done in Ketchikan. Ward said he had first started in Ketchikan about 27 years ago.

“It’s been an honor to represent Ketchikan and be involved in the shipyard,” said Ward. “What’s been most gratifying is seeing those young people down there that are moving up in the world and buying houses, getting married and having kids —that’s truly why we did all this.”

“I’m not done,” he said.

Ward just got a business license for a new company called, “Industrial Development Service.”

“I’ll be looking to continue the effort of improving and expanding Ketchikan and Alaska’s waterfront just a little bit longer,” he said.

At the end of the meeting, the council had two executive sessions: one to discuss terms and conditions of an amendment to the Berth IV Lease Agreement with the Ketchikan Dock Company and one to finish the annual evaluation of Ketchikan City Manager and Ketchikan Public Utilities Manager Karl Amylon.

No action was taken after the executive sessions.

Council Member Dave Kiffer was absent from the meeting, and Coose participated telephonically, voting on resolutions and commenting, but not participating in the executive sessions.

The next council meeting is scheduled for Feb. 21 and is open to the public.