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A month ago when I heard of the changes happening in Alaska an idea came to mind. After presenting the idea to many people, including, street maintenance and utility workers, small and large business owners and a few of our representatives, I received only positive feedback.
The idea is to move the City and Borough of Juneau offices to one central location, the soon-to-be-vacant Kmart building.
This idea benefits everyone within the borough and will open doors to our capital move problem. With the new administration moving rapidly forward this is a golden opportunity for the city to also move forward from the problems that have plagued downtown Juneau and the borough's taxpayers for decades. It is a plan that will work for the next 100 years.
At 124,000 square feet, the Kmart building is large enough to house all city offices and have room left to lease a portion to the state. As our city grows and the new capitol building is built downtown, the facility will be used exclusively for city offices.
Here are the beginnings of a list of ideas, options and benefits that will benefit our residents and our government.
1. The CBJ offices will be centrally located for the public and the future - especially with the second channel crossing coming up and the growth of the Valley, North Douglas and Berners Bay area (mining).
2. Eliminate traffic congestion in town and relieve parking problems. Residents will want to go downtown to shop if they can park with less hassle.
3. Re-establishing housing downtown (Marine View Building).
4. The water and sewer departments can consolidate to a central location.
5. Offer the Water Department building adjacent to the brewery for their necessary expansion putting it on the tax rolls.
6. Move Parks and Recreation offices to the central location for easy access.
7. Use the existing CBJ Building downtown for the Juneau Convention and Visitors Bureau offices and proposed visitors center.
8. New city offices would be close to the Police Department.
9. Lease space to DNR (newly combined agencies), which will open up space in town for governmental and legislative affairs.
10. Combine city and state permitting in one central location.
11. A step in showing the state that we are serious about bettering the legislative and capitol conditions.