SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



Dock project
By Anita Hales


February 22, 2006
Wednesday AM

I thoroughly enjoyed the recent article in Sitnews by Mr. Kiffer about the tunnel and the 1950's in Ketchikan. There are some parallels with what happened to Ketchikan then and the happenings now.

Even as Ketchikan has seen changes in its economy in the past, we will continue to see them. As the fishing industry declined, it opened the way for the timber industry. Then in 1997, Ketchikan was doomed to lose another industry, the timber industry, only to be replaced by the Tourism industry.

I expect that in time, we will develop other economies. Who knows what they will be.
But as with all changes, people balk at them. I'm sure fishermen didn't want to see the changes that diminished their industry. Likewise, it was painful to lose the Pulp Mill and all it offered Ketchikan. There are many who'd like to see us go back to those days.
Tourism is a bird of a different color. Some of its benefits to the community are obscure but everybody can see the jaywalkers and gawkers. Downtown has changed for many reasons. I believe it would be starkly vacant without the plethora of tourist shops. The main economy of local Ketchikan has moved to the west end and it probably would have happened with or without the tourists.

So, I wonder if people complained about construction of the Pulp Mill. Did they complain about the construction of the numerous housing projects it engendered? I suspect there have always been complainers.

Now we complain about tourists and cruise ships. But these very things are keeping our taxes down and paying for other things indirectly such as non-profit organizations and schools who receive grants from the city and borough.

We may not see the benefit directly as we saw with past industry, but it's there. That doesn't mean we have to roll over and move out of the way for tourism unencumbered. The dock project is a good beginning. It will change the face of downtown and some of it is good and some is bad. There are compromises. Contrary to the opinions of some, there has been some thought directed at solving some of the complaints of locals. We need to continue in the direction we have taken with caution. Keep some of Ketchikan for Ketchikan and allow others to savor its uniqueness.

Anita Hales
Ketchikan, AK - USA

About: "I have been a resident of Ketchikan since 1965. I raised my 5 children here and plan to stay here all my life. I've worked in many local business including the visitor industry as a tour guide. Having attended many local meetings recently in conjuction with my current job, I've changed my mind about some of the issues mentioned in my letter."


Related Article:

Boom Town, Ketchikan in the 1950s By DAVE KIFFER - The years immediately after World War II were lean ones in Ketchikan.

While the Depression had had less of an effect here than elsewhere in the country, the economic boost of the war years had artificially supported the local economy. With the end of the war, it became obvious that the dominant industry - the canned salmon industry - was in sharp decline and as the fishing industry waned so did Ketchikan. - More...
Monday - February 20, 2006

Note: Comments published on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.


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Ketchikan, Alaska