January 27, 2004
Eckert said, "The Ketchikan Gateway Borough is very pleased with the announcement of this preliminary grant award, and wants to clarify the position that this facility is to be a truly regional facility for the purpose of making the entire region more economically viable and keeping as many jobs within the region as possible. It is our hope that this facility will provide an economic benefit to the fishing industry by keeping the frozen products stored within the region and save the transportation costs associated with shipping overflow volume south and then shipping it back for processing." He said, "Other benefits for the region could include storage for fishermen marketing a portion of their catch, storage of frozen foods for grocery stores and frozen foods involved with school lunch programs, allowing a cost savings by buying in bulk and storing locally until needed."
The Fisheries Development Committee said Monday that its members were very pleased that the Borough had received the commitment for $1.4 million and that additional grants to fully cover the costs of the project are pending or being written. The Fisheries Committee stated in their release, "This grant shows the commitment of the Murkowski Administration and Ketchikan Gateway Borough to the fish industry, this region and the future."
The Fisheries Committee is a sector group started 2 years ago at the Borough Strategic Economic Development Conference organized by Cathy LeCompte and Bill Taylor. Current members of the committee represent the seiners, gillnetters, trollers, and processors in the area. After exploring numerous possible projects, the Fisheries Committee determined that the greatest potential benefit in terms of providing flexibility for fishermen, processors, as well as jobs in the region was to concentrate on development of a cold storage facility. After research, the Fisheries Committee found that the local need was for a 10 million pound cold storage. The Fisheries Committee in conjunction with the Borough made an application to the State in June for partial funding. This preliminary commitment is the result of those efforts to date. A preliminary cost estimate is $8 million for the entire project. The committee will announce public meeting dates to inform the public of the project
Borough Manager Roy Eckert said, "We want to acknowledge and thank the Fisheries Committee for their many hours of hard work to make this possible. Also, this preliminary grant award could not have been accomplished without the cooperation and support of the Governor and the City of Ketchikan working with the Borough and the Fisheries Committee. This has been a truly cooperative project and we look forward to continued support and cooperation to make this a successful regional community facility. "
Eckert said, "The Borough
views this facility as a great asset for the region, and expects
it will be a truly community facility that will be used by all
communities in the area."
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