SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Allow for a Location That Fits the Purpose
By Alethea Johnson


August 21, 2010
Saturday AM

I support the City's Proposition 1 because it gives the City Council power to choose a location for our new public library that will benefit the most residents of Ketchikan. The main purpose of the library is to meet community needs for information, programs and gathering spaces. Our public library should be centrally located, as large as we can afford, and easily accessible for all.

The people who are promoting Proposition 2 are not focused on increasing the library's capacity to provide services for residents. Rather they are attempting to use Ketchikan's Public Library as an anchor to improve the economy of the downtown core. But the city does not own a viable lot that is conveniently located and large enough to accommodate a facility that would achieve both of these goals.

Proposition 2 would tie the City Council's hands and bind the whole community to a choice between two bad options: a cost-prohibitive re-building at the Centennial Lot or an expensive two story structure on the inhospitable heights of Grant Street. Neither of these options will be attractive to the majority of library users or to funders who finance projects that are carefully planned and fiscally responsible.

If Proposition 2 passes, we will likely lose our opportunity for 50/50 funding from the state. Without funding from outside sources, construction of our new library may be indefinitely postponed. We have been waiting a long time to build a facility that would allow for expansion of library services at a cost we can sustain. The Feasibility Committee has identified several sites that will meet documented needs and funding criteria, including the preferred choice, Copper Ridge, approved by the City Council. Don't let our new library project be derailed by a special interest group. Please vote "yes" on Proposition 1 and no on Proposition 2!

Alethea Johnson
Ketchikan, AK

About: "I am a year-round resident, library patron, and former employee of the Ketchikan Public Library."

Received August 19, 2010 - Published August 21, 2010



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