By Roberta McCreary
August 11, 2005
From a design standpoint, we have a promise of $10 million to be spent on upland improvements without any further understanding of what that money will buy. There are serious issues to consider regarding the effect on residents in terms of congestion and lack of parking. We are promised redevelopment of this last remaining historic part of Ketchikan with absolutely no idea of how such redevelopment could be financed. Notice that the information provided in the brochure only speaks to: "upgrades to Casey Moran Harbor,upland pedestrian walkways and amenities and improved tour bus staging." That is a very incomplete list of what will need to be done to fulfill the visions that some are foreseeing (taking quotes from prior postings to SitNews): (JUMP TO THE BOTTOM OF MY "QUOTES" FOR MY POSITION ON THE "FINANCIAL" PART if you don't want to rehash old comments)
"a significant portion of this project is for uplands improvements that relieve congestion, improve parking, safety, and beautify our city for both locals and tourists" I DO NOT SEE A PLAN FOR RELIEVING CONGESTIONS AND IMPROVING PARKING
WE WILL HAVE **NOTHING** OF KETCHIKAN LEFT!
Regarding the incomplete FINANCIAL projection:
The City's materials indicate that the Bond Bank will review our projections and if passenger fees prove insufficient in the future, a consultant will be required to tell us how to get more money out of the Port revenues to pay the bonds. First of all, what are the projections? The numbers provided by KPFF have already proven to be much too optimistic according to recent news stories that predict flattening out of the numbers. The last week of July, the Sapphire Princess, one the newest, largest ships, was in town with only 2000 of 2900 available berths occupied...in the middle of tourist season. What trend does that portend? What if there is a catastrophic terrorism event on a cruise ship somewhere in the world?
Then if an alternative plan is required, where do these additional revenues come from? Are we able to increase the per passenger tax without limit? If no, where else within the port operation do these funds come from?
Sorry, I am not convinced yet that there is a sound plan here.
P.S. By the way, regarding the Northern, Alternative C, option, I was informed by one KPFF consultant AFTER a community meeting that the cruise ship industry had already agreed, with only 15 minutes advance notice, to delay the departure or arrival of any cruise ship in order not to interfere with the business activity of the fish processing plant. Also, know how many locals are employed by that business? I've been told the number is 5 or so.
Why can't we confine the effect of tourism to one central part of our community instead of sprawling it across our entire downtown area? I realize, this is just a rhetorical question... however, unless we become more informed by Tuesday,
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