A public hearing on port parking development is on Thursday’s Ketchikan City Council agenda.
The council voted on March 7th to use $250,000 of the city’s Commercial Passenger Vessel Excise tax funds to reconfigure parking next to Berth 3 of the downtown cruise dock. The public hearing Thursday is for a resolution transferring that amount, and amending the Tourism and Economic Development 2019 budget to reflect that appropriation.
The city receives a portion of state-collected CPV funds. Those funds are to be used on cruise-related projects. The parking reconfiguration is part of an uplands planning effort to accommodate larger numbers of cruise visitors expected in the next few years.
According to a memo from city Public Works Director Mark Hilson, the reconfiguration will enhance pedestrian access and reduce congestion by providing better tour-bus staging.
There will be reduced parking, though. Hilson writes that there currently are 99 spaces in the lot next to Tongass Trading. He says many of the spaces are too small and not usable. The lot will be reconfigured with new striping providing uniform spaces, he writes, and will end with 69 parking spaces.
Also Thursday, the council will consider a motion to move forward with removing the sales tax cap for jewelry – a popular item for tourists to buy during summer. The boroughwide sales tax cap on single-item purchases is $1,000. A city and borough cooperative committee agreed on March 11th to work on removing that cap specifically for jewelry sales.
The council and Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly will need to agree on that change before it can take effect.
Thursday’s council meeting starts at 7 p.m. in city council chambers at City Hall. Public comment will be heard at the start of the meeting.