The Crystal Serenity is seen in 2016 at Ketchikan’s Berth 2. (KRBD file photo)

Citing the need to be ready when larger cruise ships start entering the Alaska market, the Ketchikan City Council voted unanimously Thursday to start moving forward with plans to expand the downtown dock’s Berths 1 and 2.

The vote approved a $1.9-million contract with consultants Moffatt and Nichol. That contract will result in a 35-percent design proposal. Some design concepts already have been drafted, and will be presented during an upcoming public input meeting.

That meeting has not yet been scheduled. Port and Harbors Director Steve Corporon said that it likely will happen in early January.

Council member Mark Flora said he understands there is some urgency for the city to be ready by 2019, but he cautions city officials to take the time to listen.

“I know there’s going to be a public hearing. I just want to make sure that as we’re running through this as efficiently as we can, that we really take the time to listen to the public and how this is going to impact other local businesses, other local port and harbor users, make sure we have an open mind and are listening to their concerns,” he said. 

Council member Julie Isom agreed. She added that tourism is the only industry in the region that’s growing right now, and said it’s worth the investment. She also wondered at the lack of public comment.

Nobody from the public came to Thursday’s meeting to speak on that topic.

In other matters, the council voted unanimously to approve a nearly $2 million contract with Vigor Alaska to overhaul the downtown dock’s Berth 3 barge.