By Bill Thomas Sr.
May 29, 2005
Again I want to compliment your commitment to freedom of expression. With regard to the bridge to Gravina Island, I always felt it was inevitable. It can't help but be a bad experience once the bridge is in place. It doesn't offer a viable economic contribution to the Ketchikan Gateway Borough. In fact, it will be an economic liability with regard to providing the Island with the amenities of any community. It will need to tap into our already inadequate water reservoir placing a hardship there. The same with electricity, road maintenance. Infrastructure will be a nightmare by itself. Existing ordinances will have to be downgraded to permit development on some parts of the island. I will not discuss the topic of the ecological sensitivity of the island again. All of those concerns have been thrown out the window.
I'm not saying the development is a bad thing, it's just going to be difficult to find funds in the already empty borough budget. Increasing taxes on undeveloped property is awkward at best. With regard to cruise ship access, they will get whatever they want without having to demand it more than once, so that isn't even a good discussion area. I'm confident growth and traffic will happen very quickly. But I'm curious to know what the economic contributions are anticipated.
Somehow, over the years, we've done pretty well in some areas. Economics is not one of them. If we can't afford schools and fund typical school activities, it will be interesting to to see where we draw our future students from. I'm not sure how or why, but I remain optimistic about this whole thing. Believe it or not, we have some pretty good minds in this community.
Bill Thomas Sr.
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