The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Annette Shacklett
LOG Editor 

City, ARRC land swap advances

 


Annette Shacklett

LOG Editor

The City of Seward is moving forward on a land swap with Alaska Railroad Corp. of parcels in the Small Boat Harbor area.

City council on Oct. 27 approved a resolution to sell to ARRC city-owned property that is currently leased to the railroad and sublet to Holiday Inn Express and used as a parking lot, and another parcel along Fourth Avenue. In return, the city would be granted a 95-year lease to tidelands where the east harbor breakwater is and a 35-year lease on a parcel it currently leases and on which sits the fish-cleaning station and the oil recycling facility. The city would have an option at the end of the 35 years to renew that lease. It also would retain fire lane access at J-Dock and a 10-foot utility easement along Fourth.

The railroad has planned to develop the area for some time but needed the parcels in addition to the piece on which the old Coast Guard building sat in order to do the replatting necessary for the development.

The piece that the city will now be leasing without charge has been costing the city $11,067 per year, or an equivalent amount of gravel at $3 per cubic yard.

City administration reported to council that it felt that the deal would not only save the city the annual lease fee, but ARRC development of the property would likely generate tax revenue for the city.

Administration also explained that the titles to the properties could not simply be exchanged because in order to dispose of property the railroad must have an act from the Legislature.

The council passed the resolution with a unanimous vote and Dave Squires absent.

Legislative Priorities

Council also passed resolutions outlining legislative priorities for the upcoming U.S. and state sessions.

The top three priorities the city will ask of Congress are $7 million for a comprehensive flood mitigation program by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a $1 million appropriation to the Corps for the city’s 50 percent cost share of a Lowell Creek/diversion dam study, and USDA assistance to provide housing for senior citizens who wish to transition but find Seward’s housing options limited.

From state legislators, the top three things the city will ask for are: $1.5 million for storm water discharge infrastructure and a security fence to surround the city vessel storage area at Seward Marine Industrial Center, $3.2 million for dredging sludge from wastewater treatment ponds, and funds to facilitate the doubling of vessel transport capacity of the ship lift and associated improvements at SMIC.

 

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