Fairbanks land sale to borough hits hurdle

Posted: Wednesday, January 12, 2005

FAIRBANKS - The Fairbanks City Council threw a curve into the Chena Riverbend Project and plans to build a hotel, sports complex, offices and homes near Pioneer Park and the Carlson Center.

The council on Monday refused to sell city land to the borough for anything less than the full appraised value. The borough offered $400,000 to the city for eight acres. The city advertised it at $430,000.

"I'm not willing to leave $30,000 on the table," said Jerry Cleworth, city councilman. Cleworth said that the $430,000 price tag stemmed from a borough appraisal.

The borough wants the land for two Little League fields that will be displaced if the Chena Riverbend Project becomes reality.

The whole council declined to forward the borough's offer to its next meeting for a vote, effectively killing the matter for now.

Cleworth said he wants the issues addressed in a reworked ordinance that will likely be submitted for consideration in a future council meeting.

Borough Mayor Jim Whitaker gave a presentation on the river project to the City Council's work session before its regular meeting.

Councilman Jeff Johnson voiced concern about the future of the Little League fields that would be moved because of a fish hatchery, saying that private efforts raised the $750,000 to build the fields. He asked if there would be money to pay for the construction of new fields.

Whitaker said that the revenues would come from the development of the Chena Riverbend Project itself. He estimates that the project would cost developers about $100 million to $150 million. The borough began advertising for interested developers last week.

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