Chas Dense, in his letter published May 15, begins with a misperception and ends with a great idea. The misperception is how the "low-income housing" (it was a slum) along Calhoun Avenue was torn down and the land given to Fireweed Place. We didn't want that strip of land.
It was of no use to us, but the only way we could get the project built was to include the land in the package, and demolish the Knight and Russell Apartments, at the insistence of the city. They were clearly a blight on the landscape, interfering with the CBJ's Calhoun Avenue Reconstruction Project. There were serious capital move issues involved, and community beautification was in order. The state was encouraging the demolition. Gov. Hickel had to walk by those eyesores on his way to the Capitol, and one of the tenants had a big "Impeach Hickel" sign in the window. The city reimbursed us for the demolition and the land was required to be included in the project, apparently for zoning reasons. It is wrong to consider the land as a "donation to a private venture," as Mr. Dense does in his letter.
Fireweed Place has been paying taxes on that land ever since. We have paid $414,000 in property taxes to the CBJ since we opened in 1995. Our present monthly tax payment is $3,422.66, part of which is for that property which we cannot use.
We agree that the strip along Calhoun ought to be a park. We would welcome the property being removed from the tax rolls and off our backs.
Thomas H. Dahl, President
Board of Directors
Senior Citizens' Support Services, Inc.