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Planning commission approves two projects

Posted: Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A local couple won the Juneau Planning Commission's approval Tuesday to open an Internet lounge at the former Elks Lodge building downtown.

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The nine-member body also approved plans for a new Juneau Family Birth Center on Salmon Creek Lane.

Ann and Ruben Pereyra, owners of Universal Electronics, were granted a permit to run an Internet lounge and retail shop on the first floor of their recently purchased building, a Juneau landmark on South Franklin Street. The Pereyras bought the building from Juneau Elks Lodge 420 in early October.

The Juneau Family Birth Center also was granted approval for its 8,715-square-foot building, which will be located near the Valley Medical and SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium clinics on Salmon Creek Lane. The center will house birthing facilities, administrative offices and space for educational courses.

New services also are expected to be added, such as family counseling and social services for at-risk families, as well as new meeting and office space for other Juneau nonprofits.

Executive Director Kaye Kanne said Tuesday the nonprofit birthing center has received all but $300,000 of its funding to construct the new facility. In 2006, the organization experienced some troubles receiving approval from the Alaska Legislature for another $300,000 because some area doctors cited concerns about public money going toward birth centers.

Kanne said Tuesday the Legislature eventually granted the money.

Most recently, the Rasmussen Foundation gave the nonprofit a $550,000 grant. The birth center also has raised more than $3 million for the project through grants and donations.

• Brittany Retherford can be reached at brittany.retherford@juneauempire.com.



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