SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Ward Cove Comprehensive Plan
By Mary Lynne Dahl


November 04, 2009

As an observer of what has been happening at Ward Dove this past 12 years ,I agree wholeheartedly that before we sell Ward Cove piecemeal, we should develop a comprehensive, long term plan for that property. My 25 years as a financial planner have proven to me that planning produces much better results than shooting from the hip. The PIEER authors have some very good ideas for creating the kind of plan needed before any concrete actions are taken and their suggestions should be taken seriously.

It is true, as mentioned in some comments from viewpoints sent to Sitnews, that our borough government has mismanaged Ward Cove repeatedly. However, rather than think negatively, I prefer to think positively, looking for solutions. Solutions will require citizen leadership and government cooperation, but we should not expect government to take the lead on this because government is not good at thinking outside the box. Entrepreneurs, visionaries, leaders and innovators are.

A long term plan will facilitate steady, well-conceived steps towards putting Ward Cove parcels back on the tax rolls. Finding ways to clean up the toxic areas to EPA satisfaction is a must so that developers can obtain legitimate bank financing. It doesn't matter whether we do or do not believe that toxic areas exist; if EPA believes it, the banks will not lend, so a plan to satsify EPA is important to solving the problems associated with Ward Cove.

The borough wanted Ward Cove back on the tax rolls so badly that they foolishly thought that selling to Jerry Jenkins/Ketchikan Renaissance Group would accomplish that goal. However, Mr. Jenkins never paid any property taxes during the entire time that he assumed ownership of the property. In addition to the $9 million he failed to pay the borough, he also borrowed about $1.5 million from Alaska Growth Capital, convinced the borough to guarantee that loan, and failed to repay it as well. In fact, Alaska Growth Capital just finished auctioning off the veneer mill assets that secured the $1.5 million loan on which Mr. Jenkins defaulted. More importantly, however, is the real reason Mr. Jenkins attempted to control Ward Cove and run a veneer mill in the first place. It was never about jobs; those jobs were just pawns in a Jenkins chess game. It was so that he could claim Ward Cove and the veneer mill as collateral for the private placement securities that he was offering for sale to
investors, per his own admission in our local press, including Sitnews and Ketchikan Daily News. The problem was that neither he nor his private placement securities bothered to register and license in Alaska, which made them illegal. Mr. Jenkins was deliberately attempting to violate the law by selling unregistered securities in order to obtain money from investors, money he would never have to repay once the investment failed. This is a classic ponzi scheme.

A comprehensive long term plan will identify ponzi schemes because they do not pass the due diligence tests. Plans work because they are logical, organized, innovative, reasonable, flexible and tested. I am convinced that this is the best way to approach our future utilization of Ward Cove, not by simply putting it on the market and selling it to any and all buyers, or worse yet, ponzi schemes.

I hope that the community will support the ideas outlined by PIEER. They have done their research, are open to creative input and should be included as key players in the process of solving the Ward Cove issues. I thank them for opening this conversation and caring enough to be proactive.

Mary Lynne Dahl
Ketchikan, AK

About: "Local citizen interested in good financial management of government and public assets"

Received November 03, 2009 - Published November 02, 2009


Related Viewpoint:

letterWard Cove Park for Innovative Economic and Environmental Renewal (PIEER) By Alethea Johnson , Larry Jackson, Katie Jo Parrott, Wayne Weihing & Joanna Desanto

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