Commission OKs ice rink at Savikko
JUNEAU - The Juneau Planning Commission on Tuesday approved an ice rink at Savikko Park in Douglas.
But commission members said they hoped there would be enough money in the budget for a more attractive building. The building will have corrugated metal siding and roofing on a steel frame.
"I'm for an ice rink, but I would hate to see a big, giant tin building in the park," said commissioner Maria Gladziszewski before voting to approve a conditional use permit.
The commission voted to encourage the Juneau Assembly to authorize design changes to make the ice rink look more like other park buildings or historic buildings from the Treadwell Mine.
"I think it would be great to have bells and whistles if you want bells and whistles," said commissioner Dan Bruce. "But I don't see a lot of public support for aesthetics."
City engineering director John Stone said some design changes could be made cheaply, such as choosing an attractive color and breaking up the monotony of the side with false windows and a more attractive entrance.
The 27,000-square-foot Treadwell Arena would be used as an indoor rink in the winter and for other sports and events in the summer. The arena will be placed where tennis and basketball courts are now, at the base of the slope under St. Ann's Avenue. A walking path will be routed around it.
It will be owned and maintained by the city, and operated by a nonprofit organization. Voters have approved $1.35 million in city funds in two ballot propositions.
The whole project will cost an estimated $2.72 million to build plus about $250,000 in one-time start-up costs, Stone said. But a bare-bones facility could be opened for $2.16 million plus start-up costs.
A working group of city officials and citizens expects to present a report on construction and operating costs to the assembly's Public Works and Facilities Committee on April 4. The group will also meet with the Douglas Service Area Advisory Board at 7 p.m. March 21 at the Douglas Library.
Cordova tax passes by one vote
KETCHIKAN - Cordova residents have approved a cruise ship head tax by one vote.
Absentee ballots were counted Tuesday and the new total shows 324 people voted in favor of a passenger fee and 323 people voted against it, KRBD radio reported. Cordova's city council was to meet Tuesday night to certify the results of the March 6 general election.
The initiative would charge cruise ship passengers $5 to visit Cordova. The fee takes effect next January.
According to the Cordova City Clerk's office, turnout in the election was 30 percent.
Ketchikan residents vote on a $5 passenger fee initiative on March 27. Juneau voters approved such a fee about two years ago.
Halibut season opens Thursday
ANCHORAGE - The Alaska halibut fishing season opens Thursday at noon after a four-month break.
This year's statewide quota is about 61.5 million pounds, an increase of about 10 percent over last year's. Commercial fishermen who have individual catch quotas can harvest their fish over a season that lasts until Nov. 15.
The state's black cod fishery also begins at noon Thursday.
Much of Alaska halibut goes fresh or frozen into domestic markets while black cod is consumed mostly in Japan.