SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Growth on Gravina?
By Anita Hales


August 09, 2007

I've been reading letters on the bridge to Gravina issue and there seems to be a lack of information.

First of all, the proposed bridge is NOT go cater to 50 people who live on the island. When the airport was built in 1973, it was built with the understanding that we would have access to it by a bridge. The airport was built there because it was the safest place to do so. Land on the Ketchikan side was extremely limited and it remains so today.

If you talk to some of the people involved with medevacs from the hospital to Seattle, you might have a better idea why a bridge would be a REALLY good idea. Think about getting someone to the airport in the middle of the night. You'd have to wake up the ferry guy - He has to go get the ferry ready - he has to wake up crew - heaven help you if the weather is bad. This is very time consuming and minutes are important when lives are at stake. There are multiple people and agencies to contact for a medevac and a bridge would make all the difference in a timely take-off and worrying about whether or not somebody has been called.

As to growth, I've seen a number of issues recently where a business has wanted to start up in Ketchikan and haven't been able to because there is no suitable commercial land available. Rezones have been tried but there are problems when you try to put a commercial business in a residential area. The proposed sea cucumber plant is a case in point.

No matter how you look at it, a bridge to Gravina could only help Ketchikan grow. Growth isn't based on how many people move in and out per se, it is based on available opportunities for jobs.

People whine about being a tourist town. The only way to diversify is to have new business start up. New businesses can't start if there is a lack of available commercial property.

The Borough owns land on Gravina, it needs a bridge to develop it.

New jobs mean our children can stay and work in the community. If we want access to recreation, residential and business opportunities, a bridge to Gravina would really help.

Roads on Gravina will allow easier access to subsistence as well.

I's time to face the facts that Ketchikan has a stagnant economy. We are losing our youth to other communities with better job opportunities. People should take off their collective blinders and see the whole picture.

Anita Hales
Ketchikan, AK

Received August 08, 2007 - Published August 09, 2007

About: "I have spent most of my life in Ketchikan - 40+ years."

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