Sitnews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska - Opinions



Re: Gambling and Land
by Rick Grams


August 03, 2004

I sit here and read Sitnews everyday. I find it newsworthy and informative beyond anything else published or printed in our state. Dick and Mary - you have created "The Standard" for excellence in web site design and purpose. Thank You.

I have to agree that some legitimate gambling here in Ketchikan would be nice to see. I also see it as a source of revenue for the community. This does not mean that money is everything, but our economy certainly could use a boost from any source. Before people condemn the nature of gambling, please take the time to do some research on the real facts involving the industry.

As for the land swap or whatever people want to call it, I think that a valiant effort has been made to take a small step towards a vision that might not be shared by all. I wish people could wake up and see the reality of our circumstances here in Ketchikan.

Our economy continues to be at a standstill. The flow of money in this town is generated single-handedly by the tourist business. The rest of the year the economy just limps along, while people talk about the glory days of logging and fishing. Well, those glory days are indeed gone. I too wish they weren't, but I can be a realist and see how things are now. Let's talk about now.

Ketchikan has a tourist district. This is not an official title, but anyone who lives here can see that downtown Ketchikan is a place to stay clear of during the day while the tourists get an eyeful of our beautiful land. I propose that it is time to make an official boundary outlining this area as a tourist district.

Within the downtown area, the government offices should move to a location that does not interfere with the business of tourism (and therefore out of the tourist district). Tourist businesses have expanded, and it would probably be to the benefit of tax revenue if we could have a few more stores in town. Besides, what purpose does a government office serve in the middle of a tourist district?

I would also like to see some of the side streets in the downtown area blocked off from vehicle traffic. Our sidewalks in downtown do not adequately hold the large groups of people who visit, and yet this seems to be another fact we choose to ignore. I bet an insurance company would lower their liability rates for the city if we showed some effort to protect our visitors.

Those are my thoughts on these subjects. While some people may want things in Ketchikan to stay just the way they are, it is impossible for our community to survive on that plan. It is time for change, land/building reorganization, and commitment to Ketchikan's future.

Rick Grams
Ketchikan, AK - USA




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