Ketchikan City Hall, the City Council chambers and a park near one of the city-owned cruise ship berths could get new names. The City Council is set to consider renaming the facilities on Thursday.
The city’s main administration building would be officially designated the Karl R. Amylon City Hall. Former Mayor Bob Sivertsen suggested the new name, and he says it’s a fitting honor for Ketchikan’s former city manager of 26 years who died last year shortly after retiring. Sivertsen says Amylon played a critical role in guiding the community’s growth.
“When he first came, we were a small community doing what small communities do. And it was shortly after that we started to gain notoriety as a tourism destination. So that in itself took a lot of planning and financial maneuvering, and we see those docks as the conduit for commerce to the community. And he promoted that very well,” Sivertsen said by phone this week.
Sivertsen proposed renaming the City Council chambers after former mayor, council member and Ketchikan Daily News co-publisher Lew Williams III, who died in 2020. He served as an elected official for more than three decades.
“Lew had this unique quality of interacting with people and striving to make Ketchikan better — this was his home,” Sivertsen said. “And he embodied, I think, the fairness and openness of the mayor’s office and as a council member.”
Sivertsen also suggested renaming a park overlooking Berth 3 of the city-owned cruise ship docks after a figure who promoted Ketchikan as a destination for tourists: businessman Len Laurence, who died last year.
“At one point, before we ever built a dock or saw those cruise ships coming in, he said that Ketchikan would see a million tourists — and he was correct. He was always optimistic, and he promoted tourism as being one of the major legs of the stool for the economy of Ketchikan,” Sivertsen said.
The small green space is informally known as Eagle Park for the iconic Nathan Jackson totem it hosts known as “Thundering Wings.” In a letter to the city, a former council member, Mike Harpold, says the park celebrates Ketchikan’s founding and Native heritage and asks the council to reconsider the new name. He suggests instead placing Laurence’s name on a bench or plaque within the park.
Ketchikan’s City Council is set to consider the new names Thursday evening.
In other business, the council is set to consider a lease with First City Homeless Services for a new 24-hour shelter at 632 Park Avenue. The former warehouse for the city’s water department served as the community’s overnight warming shelter for the winter of 2020. Last year, the council approved construction of a 1,280-square foot addition to the building.
City officials say the addition is nearly finished, and they’re aiming for the homeless services organization to move back in April 1. When the new facility opens, it’ll be the first permanent 24-7 homeless shelter in Ketchikan. A temporary 24-hour shelter operated out of Ketchikan’s rec center in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ketchikan’s City Council meets at 7 p.m. Thursday in the council chambers at City Hall. The full agenda is available online. There’s time set aside for public comment at the beginning of the meeting, and the meeting is live-streamed on the city’s website and local cable channels.