Andrew's Marina/Fisherman's Bend issue may need public input

Posted: Friday, January 28, 2011

Docks and Harbors is stumped on what direction to go with the offer to purchase Andrew’s Marina/Fisherman’s Bend.

Its finance committee recommended at Thursday’s board meeting that it ask the Assembly to either put it up for a public vote or somehow get public input on the matter.

Docks and Harbors sent the issue to committee last month. Members were concerned about buying the facility when it’s already strapped for cash in maintaining existing properties. The owners are offering the city the opportunity to buy it first, as they are looking to retire, and are asking for $4 million.

Docks and Harbors noted that the facilities on that property are also going to require quite a bit of maintenance.

Eric Kueffner, finance committee chairman and board member, said the committee believes Docks and Harbors could operate Andrew’s Marina/Fisherman’s Bend without a problem, but the issue comes down to finding funds for the initial purchase and having enough reserves for future maintenance.

“We thought it was important enough to pass onto the assembly information to them, ask the assembly to somehow get some public input on this,” he said, adding that gauging public input on the possibility was too large for the committee to handle.

Citizen Dennis Watson and DeHart’s Marina patron supported the idea, but with some reservation.

“I don’t think it should be done at the expense of projects already out there,” he said. “Having said that, I think its extremely important the city step up and do something to protect the boating family here in Juneau, which is quite large.”

He also pointed out that there are 100 slips downtown that are vacant, yet the valley-area slips tend to be at or near capacity. Watson suggested the city look at where development is occurring. He sees a trend in new growth and building happening in the valley, and correlated it with growth of boating in the valley marinas.

Board chairman Jim Preston and member Bob Wostmann will work with port director John Stone to formulate a recommendation to the assembly, which will ask them to seek public input in some fashion — which could include a vote — on purchasing Andrew’s Marina/Fisherman’s bend and funding for necessary improvements.

The board unanimously approved sending it to the Assembly for further input.

Docks and Harbors also discussed DeHart’s and Statter Harbor and its Capital Improvement Project wish list for the assembly, issues which will be covered in an Empire article on Sunday.

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