The July 27 My turn hit the nail on the head. Juneau resident Scott Petsel toured Southeast with an Elderhostel group. Their experience of Juneau did not impress them; and he saw downtown Juneau with new eyes.
He wrote that most tourists want to see nature, authentic arts and crafts, and "unique port cities that retain the original character of Alaska." He advocated limiting development of South Franklin Street.
His experience has also been my experience. I live on Carrol Way, a staircase off of South Franklin by the House of Russia. I love the House of Russia and it fits beautifully into our quaint, historic business and residential community. But a new development of Alaska Fur Gallery has negatively impacted us. Before this development, tourists would gasp at our beautiful view up the stairs of gardens, greenbelt, trees, mountains, historic houses and awesome apartment buildings. They even picked up stones form the bottom of Carrol Way as souvenirs. That is how hungry they are for something real.
But since this enormous, out-of-character Fur Gallery building, the tourists no longer gasp with pleasure. They do look up, because it is interesting to see a long metal staircase, but the beautiful view is gone. A very few climb the stairs, where there used to be many. Often they are irritated. They ask where they can find a view or a pleasant place to walk.
When I tell them that another, even more enormous building is planned for our neighborhood, they are horrified. When I tell them that even our lovely greenbelt immediately under the apartments is slated for gift shop development, some say, "But one can always see buildings. What we come to see is this nature and greenery."
Almost no one knows this, but the Belgian developers south of the new Fur Gallery plan to take our greenbelt. If one drives down South Franklin, one can easily see the enormous potential size of their development. Then, if one looks up, one can see the tiny greenbelt they wish to add to their holdings. This is pure greed.
Four of us are appealing the recent Planning Commission decision that would allow this commercial development on our greenbelt. We call ourselves EGS, End of Gastineau Society. I hope that some readers want to help and will call me. Carrol Way needs support from the community; and Juneau needs our lovely Carrol Way.
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