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Gravina Bridge
by Neil Gray


May 21, 2004

I must be getting soft entering my senior years. I actually agree with some of the view points about the bridge to Gravina/Pennock expressed by a couple of gentlemen I've know for thirty years: Don Hoff, Jr. and David Hangar. Regardless of what Michael McColley says, you don't have to live in a community to be vocal or concerned about it. I still consider Ketchikan as a "hometown" even though I haven't lived there for 12 years.

If Don's dollar figures are correct about the cost of the bridge, then that's about $495,689 per resident on Gravina and Pennock. For those who think Ketchikan needs to grow, how will that happen? Don't you need a good solid economic base? Everybody knows the two major industries (timber and fishing) are a far cry from years ago. The Moly mine never developed. Tourism is a savior. What major business would consider moving to a remote community like Ketchikan? That would be great if they did, but I would think it would take a major sales job to convince them to relocate there.

I recall talking about the bridge situation on First City Forum 20 years ago. The question still remains, is it a financially viable venture in the long run, or will it be built just to sit there for years and years with hundreds of thousands of dollars yearly to maintain it? Do people want to maintain the pristine personality of Ketchikan and Alaska, or build the bridge just to say "look what we did."? There are no guarantees building a bridge would broaden the tax base and lower taxes, and that probably wouldn't happen. That would be pie in the sky outlook.

As I said before, I've wavered on the positive and negative side of building the bridge over the years. If you can come up with a good, solid, guarantee that building the bridge will benefit the economic stability of Ketchikan then build it. If not, why bother? You have ships, planes, and burial grounds to consider. If I lived there today, I'd not be in favor of building the bridge.

Neil Gray

Lakeside, CA - USA


Related Viewpoints:


Desecration Bridge by Don Hoff Jr. - Hixson, TN

Pro Bridge - Michael McColley - Ketchikan, AK





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