by Joseph Branco
January 20, 2005
The public cold storage project has been a heated topic of debate among private enterprise, would-be entrepreneurs, and the government. E.C. Phillips and Son has been the most vocal opposition to the concept stating that a publicly owned cold storage facility would be in direct competition with private enterprise. The Cold Storage Association Board, the non-profit group requesting the borough land, has concluded that currently, Ketchikan does not have enough cold storage space available during the summer for entrepreneurs and results in business opportunities and revenues heading south to Washington.
The Cold Storage Association Board stated that the project is intended to facilitate growth rather than trying to compete with private enterprise. The additional cold storage space in Ketchikan is intended to keep new and growing business in the Ketchikan market. The 7.37 million dollar project was to be funded from a $3.3 million loan, $3 million federal grant, and the Ward Cove property estimated value of $850,000.
Dave Landis remarked that other communities are interested in the facility and that it is entirely Ketchikan's to lose.
Governor Murkowski has been a supporter of the project from the beginning, seeing a real potential for growth in the industry and an opportunity to retain new entrepreneurs to the region. The Borough's decision marks the end of the project in Ketchikan. The next Borough Assembly meeting is set for February 7th at 5:30.