Tribes, city working together to improve roads

Posted: Friday, April 30, 2010

The Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska and the city are working together on a project Don Bremner, the council's deputy director of the marine highway project, calls "landmark."

The project will bring about $616,000 of federal money and several repaved roads to Juneau.

Bremner said he is hoping that over the coming years, the tribe and the city will be able to work together to implement other programs.

"This is the first road project. It's a landmark ordinance for the city and the tribe," Bremner said. "We could do a lot of construction work, but we thought it would be best if we start out right from the beginning with just small paving projects."

Engineering Director Rorie Watt said while the city has signed previous memorandums of agreement with the tribe, this is the first time they've been working on a project actually spending money.

The Assembly unanimously approved the ordinance for the project at its Monday meeting.

The money comes from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or stimulus package, through the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The council which will repay the city for the work it contracts out, Bremner said.

The roads being improved are Renninger Street, Salmon Creek Lane, Amalga Street, F Street (downtown) and John Street (on Douglas.)

The council received $512,889 for the project; the Douglas Indian Association received $103,851.

"We're competing with 500 tribes across the country for funding," Bremner said. "So (the future) depends on our success on acquiring funds. But the potential is there, now that the city recognizes the value of a partnership with the tribe."

The city expects the project to get under way this summer.

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