The Crystal Serenity is seen docked at Berth 3 in downtown Ketchikan. (KRBD file photo)

The Ketchikan City Council heard an update Thursday on ongoing downtown port development plans.

Scott Lagueux, a planner from consulting firm Moffatt and Nichol gave a short presentation. He said the project started in early June. They spent time downtown for about a week, observing traffic and pedestrian patterns, and gathering data.

“We’re working on this project really, in a way that is trying to make sure that we maintain the quality of the guest experience while also, potentially, welcoming at least at the four docks during peak time, about 3,700 to 4,000 additional guests,” he said. “Basically, like having an additional cruise ship arrive at the port during your peak operational hours.”

The project is in anticipation of expanding one or more of the downtown berths to accommodate larger ships. Those larger cruise ships are expected to start arriving in Alaska in the next few years.

“And so, with the data we’ve collected, we started to assemble some initial thoughts and concepts and ideas as to some of the improvements that would be tied to improvements on the wharf side, to make sure that we’re continuing to have a great guest experience, to also make sure that these improvements are beneficial to the economic and social well-being of the residents here in Ketchikan,” he said.  

There have been a couple of public meetings, and Lagueux said about 30 people showed up to provide input. He said he will come back to the council with a more detailed proposal in November. There will be another public meeting at that time.

Also Thursday, the council heard from Brian Wilson and Alyssa Parrish of the Alaska Coalition on Housing and Homelessness. They are in town to work with local nonprofits on establishing a data system to track homelessness in Ketchikan. Wilson said that kind of data can lead to better grant opportunities.