Ketchikan residents to vote on beach

Posted: Wednesday, August 06, 2008

KETCHIKAN - Residents will vote on a $1.1 million South Point Higgins beach purchase proposition on October's municipal ballot.

The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly unanimously approved the ballot measure.

The assembly previously directed staff to draft an ordinance that would finance the purchase of the beach through land sales and other means.

"The intent is to have the purchase made without increasing taxes and have it funded through land sales and grants," Borough Manager Dan Bockhorst said.

He said the borough is closer to finalizing a purchase and sales agreement with Alaska Mental Health Trust Land Office, which owns the beach. The sale would be contingent upon voter approval.

That agreement is expected to come before the assembly on Aug. 18.

Terms call for a 25 percent down payment of the $1.1 million purchase price, or about $300,000. The borough could make the payments over five years, he said.

Some options to pay for the beach are selling borough-owned land at Mile 16 on North Tongass Highway, obtaining grants with the help of the Ketchikan Beaches Association, and selling a conservation easement to Southeast Alaska Land Trust for land in Bear Valley.

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