The Ketchikan Regional Youth Facility will close Sept. 15th due to state budget cuts. (Photo by Leila Kheiry)

The Ketchikan Regional Youth Facility closed Sept. 15th due to state budget cuts. (Photo by Leila Kheiry)

The Ketchikan City Council learned Thursday night that the state has officially handed over control of the Regional Youth Facility, which closed this fall.

That detention facility was built to hold up to 10 juveniles. It had been underutilized in recent years and with state budget cuts, the Division of Juvenile Justice decided to close it. The building is on City of Ketchikan-owned property, and the terms of the lease stipulate that the property will revert to the city if the state stops operating the facility.

Knowing it would be getting the facility, the city already had solicited proposals for the building, and only received one. City Manager Karl Amylon told the Council on Thursday that Gateway-Akeela wants to use the building as a sobriety center and safe house for people who need to sober up.

“Essentially, what Akeela wants to do it apply for a recently announced state grant that would be a million dollars a year for a three-year period to implement this type of facility, which would serve not only as a safe house, but also as — my term is a portal — to more extended treatment,” he said.

Gateway-Akeela provides mental health and substance abuse services in Ketchikan. Joel Jackson is the director, and told the Council that the grant would allow them to run it as a detox facility, as a short-term residential substance abuse inpatient center, or as a “sobering” center.

That third item is what they’re interested in implementing.

“What it is, is a place where, according to the proposal, they could be there for three to 14 hours,” Jackson said. “So, someone who is intoxicated – doesn’t have to be alcohol, it could be anything – could come in on their own, could be brought in by police, could come from the hospital, a family member. They would be monitored, assessed, and we hope to tie them into the services that we already have.”

Amylon told the Council that there would be a more detailed presentation about the proposal for the next meeting, which has been rescheduled from Nov. 17th to Nov. 21st.

Also Thursday, the Council approved a motion to pay $2,500 for a borough-run shuttle that will bring people from downtown up to the Ted Ferry Civic Center during the Winter Arts Faire, set for Nov. 25th through the 27th.

The Council also agreed to waive the rental fee for use of the Ted Ferry by Southeast Conference, which will meet in Ketchikan in fall of 2018.