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Aurora Harbor rebuild moving faster

Posted: January 31, 2013 - 9:55pm  |  Updated: February 1, 2013 - 1:08am

The City and Borough of Juneau Docks and Harbors board decided to push ahead with the first two phases of the Aurora Harbor rebuild project.

Docks and Harbors staff drew up several options to leverage or exchange current monies for the project to grow the agency’s $11 million on hand to the $22 million needed to finish the entire project.

Board members and staff took a bird-in-the-hand approach to the issue.

Port Engineer Gary Gillette recommended the board approve launching the first two phases of the four-phase project as soon as possible. He said it is getting less likely that more funds will be dedicated to the project in the near term.

“I haven’t seen any more grant programs,” Gillette said. “Go for what we can do now.”

Phase one and phase two rebuild project will extend new floats and services from the southern end of Aurora Harbor north to the boat houses.

Board Member Kevin Jardell said he recommended acting fast as the buying power of Juneau’s cash on hand is only destined to decline.

“Our dollar is worth today’s dollar and it might not be worth as much later,” Jardell said. He said he agreed that Juneau shouldn’t wait for additional grants as “the money is drying up.”

“I am pretty conservative,” Board Member Mike Williams said. “I like what we have in our hand.” Williams moved that the board adopt the current plan as the master plan and move forward with plans and funding for phase one and phase two.

Construction on the harbor could begin in 2014.

To bolster rebuild funds, Docks and Harbors voted to transfer $500,000 from a fund to rehabilitate cruise ship tug moorage to the Aurora Harbor rebuild. The CBJ Assembly is scheduled to take up the transfer on Feb. 11.

Docks and Harbors also approved it fiscal year 2014 budget requests. Out of a total capital improvement budget of $27.2 million the 16B cruise dock project accounts for $25.8 million. Other CIP projects include $60,000 for new capstans at the cruise dock, $75,000 for a real-time weather and communications system and $800,000 of the more than $5 million Auke Bay Passenger for Hire facility.

The next Docks and Harbors Board Meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 28.

• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at russell.stigall@juneauempire.com.

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