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 Ketchikan Port Berth Expansion Bond
By Rick Grams


August 10, 2005

I've finally had the time to develop my own opinion of the issue for additional cruise ship docks. Interestingly enough, there are many communities in the same situation as Ketchikan. In Key West, Florida for example where an organization called the Historic Tours of America identified a connection between the local housing market and the cruise ship industry. Real estate values drop if more residents leave Key West because of less cruise ship revenue. The end result over time could make Key West a much less attractive vacation destination and subsequently less appealing to people who visit and buy real estate. Although the report on the memo does identify the statement as an odd sort of thinking. ( Even so, the last thing Ketchikan needs is a decrease in real estate value.

And another thought I was having about this issue is the availability of more than just a dumb old dock for a cruise ship. I mean, there are some pretty bright engineers in the world and all the Ketchikan group has come up with is a dock? Having spent a portion of my life along the Gulf Coast of this country (Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama) and in commercial ports around the world while serving in the U.S. Navy I know that commercial ports can be much more than just a dock. In New Orleans, LA the docks also house stores, souvenir shops, and warehouses (of course they also block off a portion of that city for foot traffic only). In Mississippi they've done the same thing with the addition of a gambling industry. Another place I've lived is in Norfolk, VA where the docks lead to enclosed sidewalks (something that would benefit Ketchikan) where people actually walk over the streets into beautiful aquariums, museums, and other historical landmarks.

Take a look at what San Francisco is doing with The Bryant Street Pier ( This state-of-the-art facility is part of The Bryant Street Pier - an innovative mixed-use development that will feature public open space, five-star restaurants, office and retail space, condominiums with breath-taking views, a public pier for day use, a multi-screen cinema, waterfront promenades and a public park. Now, I'm not saying we should have all of this on one pier, but if we re going to expand let s do it proper with an expanded vision/purpose to make it a win-win situation for cruise ships and the local population.

If you vote no, do it only because the design and purpose of these docks are weak. There does not seem to be any obvious forethought into the multipurpose possibilities a project of this magnitude could provide. If you vote yes and the initiative passes well, we'll have a very expensive parking spot for a cruise ship. If I haven't made my point clear, I want more for Ketchikan's money.

Personally, I don't have any problem supporting the business of tourism. However, if we look at every little corner of our small city we can see safety issues, overcrowding issues, and people who are representing our city, yet have an obvious and distinct appearance of being from somewhere else. It seems to me that as a community, it is past time to take control of how our city is represented and how it is built.

Rick Grams
Ketchikan, AK - USA


On the Web:

 Ketchikan Port Berth Expansion Bond Initiative

Ketchikan Port Berth
Expansion Bond Initiative

 Ketchikan Port Berth Expansion Bond Initiative

Vote August 16, 2005

 The City of Ketchikan is proposing to expand and improve facilities along the waterfront to provide enhanced public use and additional economic benefit to residents, business owners, and the City. A bond initiative will be placed on the August 16, 2005 ballot to gain approval for up to $70 million to fund the project. - More... Port Expansion Project Information



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