SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Indoor Sports Facility
By Jeff Carson


March 01, 2010

You may have noticed a petition going around town that asks for your support in urging the Borough to help a local group remodel the veneer building into an indoor turf field facility. This letter is to answer the questions that have come about because of this petition. First of all, the plan is to install a 250' by 100' sport turf field that would run from the south wall of the building 250 feet to the north. Currently in Ketchikan there are 2,241 kids who participate in Little League baseball, youth softball, youth soccer, wrestling, dribblers league, gymnastics, Kayhi baseball, softball & soccer & youth football. All of these kids would benefit from this facility, especially in the Winter months. That doesn't include adult soccer, baseball & softball leagues that could benefit from a field like this.

Besides the numerous health benefits, there are a number of other positives. This field would add a much needed indoor activity for both youth and adults, along with providing a competitive advantage for our youth teams. Juneau recently built a similar facility and Sitka has had an indoor baseball facility for some time. Also, there could be some positives for the Ward Cove area. Ever since Ketchikan Pulp Company closed their doors there has been a perception, right or wrong, that the Borough Assembly and staff have made some questionable financial decisions, and has done a less than adequate job of managing the old K.P.C. property. This facility is an opportunity to turn the tide, and have something positive come out of Ward Cove.

The biggest concerns are: what this project will cost, and will it cost the taxpayers any money. With the help of Federal, State and various grant monies, and the fact that Borough ownership already exists with the building, the facility could be built without further taxing local residents. We believe we can remodel the building for somewhere between $600,000-$800,000. The new field house in Juneau, which is similar in square footage to the veneer building, was built for 4.1 million. In 2009, the Juneau field house operated at a net loss of $12,000, which is a far cry from what we currently subsidize the Recreation Center at. If we were to get this project done, we could also see some economic impact from hosting out of town teams for competition and clinics in the off-season.

If you agree, like we do, that the youth of Ketchikan, and for that matter, all of Ketchikan would benefit from a facility like this, take the time to sign the petition and talk to someone on the assembly to voice your approval.

Jeff Carson
Ketchikan, AK


Received February March 01, 2009 - Published March 01, 2010



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