SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Dear Somebody: Why Not Us?

By A. M. Johnson


January 27, 2018
Saturday PM


Out of the gate I allow as I am not close to the literary level Dave Kiffer proffers in his humorous article titled Dear Amazon: Why Not Us? published in your fine publication.

The intent is not to rebut Dave, rather be supportive of the local Very Strong Proponent of Ketchikan through Dave's humorous article.

First a fable: Once there was an opportunity for two fine shoe salesmen to travel to a land of 50,000 shoeless population with shoe sales promise. Dave K, Salesman #1 arrived and viewed the population. No doubt backward as to fashion as none wore shoes, Dave wired his employer suggesting that he be returned to the factory as nobody wore shoes and therefore sales would be nil. The second sales man Al J, took one look around at the same shoeless scene and wired his factory, 'Send 50,000 pair of shoes, sales opportunity abounds'.

While Dave didn't insult the Strong Proponent he did leave that a condescending humorous response was in order and delivered.

I would like to complement the Strong Proponent by the following espial that has been offered several times in similar public formats beginning with the Blue Ribbon Panel created with the closing of the pulp mill as to how to invest the $25,000,000.00 dollars of grant funds dedicated to community economical development.

At that point the offering of the coming subject was submitted on a segment of butcher paper and typewritten outline of the proposal for consideration.

With out further adieu here a synopsis of that suggestion. Understand, it may come across as fragmented needing fine tuning. I will allow the readers to smooth out the intent and concept within their own minds.

First step is to set up the picture. Interesting folks could drive the bypass on the way to the library pulling out at the improvised parking area about half way with a view across to Gravina and the airport area. As you sit there and view the landscape, locate in your vision the mostly flat terrain that stretches on the Westerly side of the air strip leading your vision to follow South West towards Metlakatla. (Blank Inlet area) You will see a landscape that in construction terms, would amount to leveling ant hills filling in low spots to create flat buildable land in large amounts determined by the goal of a investment proposal.

This land is owned by us the residents, the Gateway Borough title free and available for development.

To begin, the assembly through the planning department, and expertise at a level and vision able/willing to prepare a conception plan to develop the land with a commercial purpose. From raw ground to a conception building/campus. Hence, the concept of Dear _____________ fill in the blank, Why Not Us? is born. Employing the expertise of a cad system engineer who could conceptualize a ground breaking to completion of a clean technical industry application housed in say a campus like:
or this:

This campus would conceivably house 400-1000 employees of a satellite entity of a larger corporation or supplier of services to such. It need not be the size and scope of an Amazon, Google, or MicroSoft, rather satellite or allied services delivered via computer technology of which I am too damn old to conceive, just knowing it exists.

So now we have a conception and artist rendition of the intent and need a customer interested in investing with locating in 'Why Not Ketchikan?' There needs to be a sales package developed that will picture the concept in a saleable format, including videos, aerial, cad system concepts, construction concepts, contractor ground conditions data, incentives to acquire the land, taxing policy, history and all the usual requirements to promote an investment project.

For this a simplistic suggestion, the borough having created a incentive package on how to transfer said land that will encourage potential investors to take a look, that would include a traveling show made up of a couple or team of Strong Proponents of Ketchikan utilizing a folding projector kiosk and accompanying written information pamphlets, photos paraphernalia. Ready to travel to prior designated trade shows of the technology industries.

Setting up at these shows ready to demonstrate and tell our story will result in seeds of interest or curiosity planted. Why and worth of said involvement you may ask?

It would be suggested that somewhere and time, a board of directors of a corporation under stress face one or more of the following questions: Where could we transplant that has (Pick your subject) No fires, No floods, No tornadoes, no hurricanes, lower taxes, less crime, environmentally friendly, reasonable land acquisition, accessible to good life style for our employees, accommodating communications and transportation schedules?

It could and only takes one, employee or officer, recalling the presentation made at the trade shows recalling such a location as requested. The Ketchikan presentation.
Having such a presentation at a trade show not related to the purpose of the trade show in itself will be a unique happening where remembrance would pay off.

Think for the moment the presentations given by the Ketchikan trade show delegation: An environment friendly setting welcoming to technical minded souls, fresh air, great outdoor opportunity, great place to raise a family, no state income tax, permanent fund dividend after one year, low corp. tax, new hospital, and mentioning that we have a university campus eager to train employees in the lines of necessity. Yes, we are connected via an international air port. ( We are dealing with a conceptional employment number of 400-1000 souls not 50,0000) that can handle the influx. Potential ADA funding from the state (Shipyard funding as an example).

The important factor at this point of inquiry would be the Borough's ability to respond reflecting a well thought out and off the shelf pre-prepared package regarding options of land acquisition from the borough complete with assembly initial pre-approval. In other words, not having to invent after the inquiry queering a potential deal with delay.

Additional plus factors related to the borough land for development, recall when the pulp mill was suggested for Ketchikan, similar issues that Dave mentioned existed. Housing for hundreds of coming residents. The two high rises and Jackson street area was the immediate result. Major housing that exist today was created during the construction of the mill. The mill took several years to construct as would a campus on Gravina. If during your viewing of the land as it related to the proposed campus, (somewhere West of the airport and towards Blank Inlet) one can gaze West towards the slopping hill leading to the Bostwick lake area. The slope of the land indicated a wonderful housing opportunity. Bostwick lake must have potential in some form to add to the infrastructure related to water needs.

One could believe a construction time table of five years or such from commitment. Construction operations could well utilize the current ferry system or barge landings. and the big opportunity to complete the adage: Build a field and they will come.

The case for a hard link to the island takes on a new and powerful dimension with a known time line and a guarantee industrial employment/potential housing development in addition on the island.

Admitting this submission is fragmented, it is hoped that enough of the concept will foster discussion at the levels of involvement that relates to decision makers (those who draw water) at least having the concept presented.

With regards to Dave, a very smart local journalist, along with your fine publication
I remain,

Another Strong Proponent of Ketchikan
Ketchikan, Alaska

About: "Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution."


Editor's Note:

The text of this letter was NOT edited by the SitNews Editor.


Received January 25, 2017 - Published January 27, 2018

Related Column:

Dear Amazon: Why Not Us? By DAVE KIFFER - It probably comes as no surprise that Ketchikan is not on the list of finalists for the Amazing Amazon Headquarters Contest. - More...
SitNews - January 24, 2018




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