SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



This is our home.
By Dennis Pope


January 30, 2006

"Positive Economy" is a phrase that must be addressed with regard to Ketchikan's future. Due to the fact that the timber industry has been almost eliminated and the fishing industry has up-and-down times, we as a community must embrace the fact that tourist dollars are a necessity to our future. Our community is at a critical juncture with the tourist dollar machine that helps to keep our community running. If we fail in competing with other S.E. Alaska and Canadian ports, we run the risk of eliminating the tourist industry that allows us to live in our fine community.

The ships are now being built to a length of approximately 1,000 feet to accommodate more customers and if we do not alter our ports to accept these larger ships they will find other ports that will accommodate them for berthing and longer stays. You might think that the projected number of 100,000 less tourists will not bring our economy to a halt but you should take into consideration that other communities will capitalize on this and draw these ships to their ports which would eventually lead to less numbers and less revenue for our community. You may also feel that the tourist dollar only goes into the pockets of non-locally owned companies. This is simply not true.

The fact is: the property and sales tax revenues that the tourist based companies must pay allows the rest of Ketchikan to keep our taxes at a reasonable rate for both property and sales taxes. The ability to have seasonal work allows high school and college students the opportunity to return home for employment and to be with their families. The local and non-local seasonal employees spend a portion of their paychecks in our grocery stores, gas stations, rental properties, clothing stores, restaurants and their own personal recreation desires. The local and non-local companies also fund our local contractors, hardware stores, etc through improvements to their facilities. All of these tourist dollars have a trickle-down effect that enables us to live in our community.

Why not compete with other ports in S.E. Alaska and take advantage of an improvement to a portion of Ketchikan that will be funded by solely by tourist dollars? Why not embrace the fact that tourist dollars will give a portion of our community a well needed face lift ? Four to five months a year at 10 hours a day is not an unacceptable amount of time for us to share our town and beautiful scenery which we enjoy year round.

Please take these points into consideration when you are contemplating how you're going to vote on the upcoming bond election and the future of Ketchikan. Think about the positive effects that the "tourist dollar" will have on you and your family and think about the pride we can take in calling Ketchikan "Our Home".

Dennis Pope
Ketchikan, AK - USA


About: Dennis Pope is a life long resident of Ketchikan and part owner of First City Electric.



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