July 20, 2006
The viewing deck is on Park Avenue next to the former Ketchikan Public Utilities Water Warehouse, which is one of Ketchikan's oldest commercial structures. The Water Warehouse was built in 1912 and is generally unchanged from its original design.
Historic Ketchikan first became interested in the Water Warehouse and the deck potential five years ago, when the city was considering tearing down the building putting in a small parking lot.
"We worked with the city to come up with a better plan," said Historic Ketchikan President Terry Wanzer. "The garage that was attached to the warehouse was in bad shape and it made sense to remove it and create the viewing platform."
This past year, the city demolished the parking garage and built the viewing platform as part of its work to make repairs to Park Avenue. Historic Ketchikan now hopes to find a commercial tenant to make improvements on the Water Warehouse building and to open a retail space opening up on the deck.
The viewing deck overlooks a shallow pool area just below the main Ketchikan Creek falls allowing a perfect view of the salmon gathering before attempting the falls or going up the salmon ladder.
"Juneau may have a glacier and Skagway a railroad, but nowhere else in Southeast is there a large salmon spawning stream right in the middle of town," said Historic Ketchikan Executive Director Dave Kiffer. "We want to draw more attention to that natural wonder and make it easier for everyone to access it."
Kiffer said that Historic Ketchikan is also planning to draw more attention - through its Downtown Walking Map - to the actual spawning area along the Creek adjacent to Schoenbar Middle School and to eventually work with both the city and the borough governments to develop additional walking trails along the Creek both below and above the Ketchikan Creek falls.
Historic Ketchikan has developed plans for a creek walkway on the Water Warehouse side of the Creek that would create a circular path around the Creek by connecting with the Married Man's Trail on the opposite side of the Creek.
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