By Marie Zellmer
October 15, 2007
I have no land in Ketchikan, nor anywhere else, but I have to admit that looking across to Gravina is awfully tempting. The bridge may just be a passage to the airport, or it may be opening up our land and economy, but it has one severe downside to building. It doesn't help the majority of us here in Ketchikan.
All common sense shows that the airport, a minority of homes and businesses are across our channel; NOT another community that is suffering from the lack of access. Almost everyone I talk to has a different opinion about the subject and even I have gone one way or the other. But my common sense says there is a dying economy here in Ketchikan that needs help (just look at our "mall" or at our tourist trap downtown), and the only way to improve ourselves is not by fighting for a nearly useless bridge, but fighting to improve ourselves where we are at. Our streets are torn to shreds, our buildings are falling prey to weather and age, and our penchant for helping our neighbors is falling by the wayside to anger.
Good property and money is scarce for most of our population, and even if the bridge was approved and built does anyone really believe that the money and fame it will bring will improve us here in Ketchikan. Think about it, all the supplies will be purchased down south, all the labor will be brought from out of Ketchikan, and any money that is spent here will truthfully raise the cost of living for Ketchikan permanent residents. A prime example is our downtown (which was recently exploited in a photo in National Geographic), where local businesses can't compete with the extravagant cost of space nor for jobs from the foreign business employers. Imagine what will happen to the cost of renting an apartment, even now it's frightening.
Perhaps it is best that we were brought down a notch by our governor, perhaps we should reconsider what kind of community we are. Do we really wish to be portrayed as money grabbing, tourism evoking, and ecologically uncaring by those who visit us or hear about us? Or do we want to be viewed as we are, an art community, who cares about our environment, who is proud of our local native cultures, and who supports our locals with a fair and even practice in economics?
If seeing is believing, then all I see is a dying community with a few rich or greedy people who love to make life harder for the rest of us. I would really like to see the homes of the people advocating the bridge project, I bet they're nice.
About: "I am 25 and have lived in Ketchikan since 1984. I am very active in FCPlayers and I have an AA MCL from UAS, with experience as a UAS Student Government officer and onetime lobbyest. I do not own any properties but I do understand economics."
Received October 15, 2007 - Published October 15, 2007
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