Startled by citys Savikko Park plan

Posted: Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee master plan for Savikko Park, Sandy Beach and Treadwell Mine Historic Trail is a startling document.

In the beginning, the current constant use, year-round, no matter the weather, is saluted. But as the report continues, it becomes clear that the friendly walks along the trails through the woods will be paved, and instead of winding up at the cove where the natatorium once stood with a nice view of the channel and mountains across the way, there will be a lookout. That trail will be called the "Arbor Walk" and will include a visit to the "Gold Rush Pioneer Plaza," incorporating non-invasive arboretum style and native plantings with seating, lighting, public art including environmental and historic themes, industrial remnants and memorials to historic and current community members.

Also, "The plaza and walk are integrated into a community building facility..."

We assume it's too bad for the dog walkers or those who simply like to wander along the trails.

There's much more, but this gives a sample. Oh, and the price for the Pioneer Gold Rush Plaza Concrete Pavers - their term, not mine, is an estimated $1,842,478.25. (I would expect the $0.25 might stay the same, but am afraid the other figures will rise significantly.)

But wait, there's more! The trail is set to come in at only $20,000, but the new playground will cost $131,675. The current grassy slope that makes a great young children's sledding area in winter will be made better for a mere $16,000. The lookout viewing platform at the end of the Arbor Walk will cost $126,500.

And we haven't even gone into the cost of the outdoor theater or the parade ground or the music pavilion.

This plan was adopted by the committee June 3, but where was the public comment? Were the taxpayers made aware of any of this?

In spite of the talk, isn't this really aimed at the summer tourist? Does Juneau really want industrial tourism?

As an historian, I was interested to find the Spanish explorers reached Southeast Alaska in 1791, not in 1775, thus making young Bodega y Quadra and Antonio Mourelle the first documented Europeans in this area. Silly me. By 1791 the Russians, English, French, United States and other Spanish had come by.

Dee Longenbaugh


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