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Further opinion regarding the dock expansion project
By Rick Grams


August 13, 2005

I like how Mr. Ellis identified people in favor of a NO vote as losers - yep, wins friends and influences people every time. I'm referring to the comment - "The urging of those in favor of "NO" votes arises from a number of poor losers whose voices were heard and weighed in an exhaustive and conscious choice by the city council to select the site now presented."

Unfortunately, I only recently gained interest in this process. I can make a million excuses, but it doesn't change the fact that my opinions, thoughts and questions are too late. Regardless, I appreciate this marvelous tool in which I can still share these views. This web site of course, is maintained by the amazing and truly inspiring Dick and Mary Kauffman.

After reading all of the literature from 2003 which is posted on the City's web site I can see where the process has failed. Back in 2003, one of the goals was to meet and exceed passenger expectations (click here slide 10). Reviewing the documentation for 2005 this goal is rephrased (in a politically correct manner) to improve the quality of life of the citizens of Ketchikan and then subsequently adds To achieve this, the experience to the passenger must be improved (click here, slide 119).

Using those key points as the basis for my own personal analysis, I don't see how the locally owned Ketchikan tourist business operator will benefit. We're going to have two more docks (and only docks) available for cruise ships not to mention this is for roughly 1/4 of a calendar year.

The end result - the cruise line industry gets to bring +2000 passenger ships to Ketchikan. These passengers multiplied by the number of ships in port (+2000 x 4 = +8000) still get to wander around the same 10-12 block radius while traffic continues to flow. I just don't see how we're addressing the bigger issue of Ketchikan s patchwork design of hosting the tourism industry. Is the end goal for the next 20 years to slowly migrate to the north side of the tunnel and redesign downtown as we move along?

Instead of looking at docks alone, we should instead be incorporating a bigger picture concept of a fully redesigned downtown Ketchikan. If the cruise line industry is so confident in a $70 million project for a couple of docks, then why won't they believe in our own local establishments to the extent that they would back that as well?

In addition to everything above, our own City government should be proactively promoting Ketchikan to tourism and other giant business entities. A great start and gesture would be assisting stores dependant on the tourist industry AND owned by year round living residents with some incentives from the City government (or maybe even the State government). Something like this or another alternative idea needs to be implemented to help ensure tourists do see the "real" Alaska.

I'm sorry - but you'll get a "NO" vote from me only because enough of the bigger issue has not been addressed. I think Ketchikan is a great spot for the tourist industry, but I want to see more support for the locality and its local (meaning year round) business owners. I also don't think you've fully addressed that goal to "improve the quality of life of the citizens of Ketchikan". I won't vote yes for a patchwork plan. Ketchikan - We can do better and we should.

Rick Grams
Ketchikan, Alaska


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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