Supporters of waterfront and subport redevelopment in Juneau want to do some more planning.
The Alaska Mental Health Land Trust Office owns 10 acres of the property along downtown Juneau's waterfront and last year sponsored a Subport Waterfront Concept Plan. The office is working on memorandums of understanding with neighborhood land owners before moving forward, Executive Director Steve Planchon said.
The next step would be to take the plan to Juneau's Planning Commission and Assembly for input and public discussion, he said. He estimated the process could take about 18 months.
"We need to see if certain things need to change," he said. "What ratio of public to private uses would be ideal? What would be the optimal amount of open or green space?"
Juneau firms Sheinberg Associates and Minch Ritter Voelckers Architects put together the plan that includes transportation improvements, housing and office space. A park, pedestrian plaza, walking paths, salmon viewing platforms, parking, a marina, restaurants and stores, along with existing U.S. Coast Guard and NOAA offices fit into the mix. The plan also might include a visitor center, museum and local government offices, planning consultant Barbara Sheinberg said.
Sheinberg said improvements are on the horizon, although things might come together in an non-orchestrated way.
"I think in the next five years we are going to see things happen there," she said.
The city owns about 12 acres of tidelands along the waterfront. The state, the Goldbelt Native corporation and the Alaska Land and Pier Co. also own property in the area. The harbor board also has been a part of discussions.
Sheinberg said Juneau residents have had a positive reaction to waterfront redevelopment. The plan needs more work, but there's interest, she said.
"The plan tends to bring the community together. These aren't competing demands. They're complementary," she said.
Planchon said the state Mental Health Land Trust Office has put about $50,000 into the project so far, and expects the second-phase planning costs to be about the same. Revenue from trust land supports mental health programs in Alaska, he said.
Joanna Markell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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