In June, Ketchikan City voters will decide whether to approve $5 million in bonds to fund harbor projects. If passed, that money can be used to leverage matching grant funds from the state and other agencies. That according to Port and Harbors Director Steve Corporon speaking at a recent Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Corporon also gave an update on completed projects, and projects planned for the downtown docks.
Ketchikan’s Port consists of the four cruise ship docks in downtown. Corporon began with a look at cruise ship passenger traffic expected. He says there were 843,000 passengers last year, and 900,000 are anticipated this year. Corporon says the increase is due to the return of one ship – The Star Princess. He says even larger numbers are expected in 2013.
Corporon says many improvements were made to the downtown docks this past winter. He says the biggest change people will notice is completion of the first phase rebuilds of Berths 1 and 2. Wooden sections are replaced with concrete and the dock is at street level.
Corporon says another noticeable change is the exit for non-secure vehicles on Mission Street. He says work on Berths 1 and 2 is planned for the next three winter seasons. He says the next phase is replacement of the remaining wooden dock with a concrete.
Corporon says the last cruise ship of the season is Friday, September 28th, and the site turned over the contractor the following Monday. He says the Ketchikan Visitor’s Bureau building will be removed shortly after.
Corporon says allowing additional time to move the building is not possible to keep the project on schedule. He says the next phase will be the most challenging because that section of the dock must be replaced, and a new Visitors Bureau building in place by May 1st.
Corporon says the third winter will see completion of Front Street improvements, and also relocation of some of the artwork on the dock.
Corporon says other improvements include widening sidewalks – up to 16 feet wide at the widest point – and designing walkways so that vehicles and pedestrians do not cross each other’s paths.
Corporon also spoke about Ketchikan’s harbors. He provided a history, saying many were sold to or turned over to the city by the state. He says most were built in the 1960’s and 70’s and have come to the end of their serviceable life. While some harbors such as Knudson Cove and City Float have been replaced, Corporon says there are several harbors in need of repair including some floats at Bar Harbor North and Hole in the Wall. Corporon says work also needs to be done at Thomas Basin.
Corporon says the goal is to have all harbor ramps up to American’s With Disabilities Act standards.
Corporon says planned repairs to the harbors will cost about $10 million dollars. He says this would not include the cost of a drive down ramp being funding from fish tax money.
A special election is scheduled for June 26th seeking approval by city voters for a $5 million bond initiative. Coroporon says if the initiative passes it would allow the City to pursue 50 percent matching funds. He says the full $5 million in bonds would not be issued right away.
Corporon says his goal is to have City’s share be less than 50 percent. He says that is already the case with a new launch ramp at Bar Harbor, with 25 percent being funded by the City and 75 from other sources.
A public meeting to present conceptual designs of a drive down ramp and harbor improvements is scheduled for May 22nd beginning at 7:00 pm at the Ted Ferry Civic Center. Corporon encourages the public to provide input at that meeting.