I sincerely want the NOAA facility at Lena Point. I appreciate the contributions of the City and Borough, NOAA and the hard work of the Assembly and city staff toward traffic mitigation on the Lena Loop road. Collectively, $2.7 million in addition to the cost to construct the facility has been earmarked to help mitigate the neighborhood traffic concerns.
There are residents of Lena Loop, my family included, who welcome the facility and feel that NOAA would be a good neighbor. We also believe that a road through the middle of the loop with appropriate signage and intersection configuration along with direct access to the NOAA Facility and Alascom Building would actually reduce traffic on the loop itself, belying many concerns that have been voiced by Lena residents.
My 20th year class reunion is coming up next year. I find it ironic that significantly less than half of my graduating class continues to live in Juneau. I suspect that this trend is repeated throughout every graduating class since. The recent census has proven that Southeast Alaska has not grown as compared to the rest of the state, or the West Coast for that matter. I look around and have to ask why? As I see it, the reason is a lack of entry-level professional jobs in the community. It has been stated many times before, Juneau is a highly educated and professional town. The fact to go along with that truism is there is a finite number of professional level jobs available in the community. The reason our kids aren't coming back from college is that there is no real opportunity for them to have a meaningful career. I shudder to think that I won't see my three daughters stay in Juneau after graduating college to raise their families in Juneau. Is that so selfish?
I can't help but think about what this community could have been like if any of the projects that were contemplated in the past few years were ever completed: The Capitol Center, the AJ Mine, the road north, or the deep-water Navy subport on North Douglas.
I'm sure there are many projects that I am missing, but I think you get my point. If Juneau doesn't stand up for itself, then we might as well give up. I will not give up. To the Assembly and others, please, let common sense prevail and hold steadfast against whatever opposition to the facility may come. Some people have to understand that NO is an acceptable answer, my daughters do.
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