SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


By Greg Harris


July 19, 2011

When I look at Ketchikan sometimes it makes me wonder if the Planning and Zoning Committees are run by Laurel and Hardy. There is no other reasonable explanation for the way this town of Ketchikan is laid out.

To make the skyline of the town even more, shall I say, disturbing, the masters at the wheel now see it okay to construct a massive building right in the heart of a flyway and wonderful scenic passage through a unique part of the world. By offering the owners of a ship building operation some property at a deep water port just several miles north of their current location, a wonderful view could have been saved, a huge obstacle for all of the flyovers could have been avoided and a company could have located to a spot that has unlimited potential for becoming a shipyard.

Just like locating the landfill above the town, it seems as if absolutely no forethought was given to the approval to the permitting process. I cannot believe not one resident above the area did not complain to a zoning board about the views that will now be taken up by a huge building. While I welcome the shipyard work to an area that is in desperate need of it, the old pulp mill site is the place it should be taking place, not in the heart of a flyway and views of the majority of the City's residents.

In the late 1990's I ran for a Ketchikan city council seat promising to bring a head tax and monies to build a tram and trails all along Deer Mountain or even up at Harriet Hunt to offer tourists more "Alaskan" things to experience. This town could be thirteen years into having it paid off by now. What benefits has Ketchikan received since the institution of the head tax and the sharing of monies? Another place to dock a ship?

We need more infrastructure people. The road to Harriet Hunt should be paved by now. The road to George Inlet should be accessible to the public by now. Its time the local Native Corporations open up a tiny portion of their land to make life for all locals, native and nonnative alike, a little more enjoyable. A greeting area, totem carving area and other attractions from Harriet Hunt on down to the water would add a great experience for everyone that would take part in them. Maybe a tram up to Brown or Johnnie Mountain with trails to the one at Deer Mountain and come back down again, the possibilities are endless, it just takes the gumption to do it.

The Alaska Permanent Fund was designed to put monies aside for a rainy day. Well, we just went through the worst economic disaster in the history of the world and if it isnt raining now, when is it? The state needs to release $2-5 billion dollars in to bond construction jobs. Get things going again in this state with infrastructure projects for all villages outside of the main population centers of Fairbanks and Anchorage.

Sorry, that's just how I see things.

Greg Harris
Ketchikan, AK


Received July 14, 2011 - Published July 19, 2011

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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska