Gov. Tony Knowles, his wife, Susan, and state Rep. Peggy Wilson were on hand along with a substantial crowd Sept. 13 for the groundbreaking of the Mountain View expansion in Petersburg. The project will roughly double the size of the existing assisted-living facility.
"Petersburg, owning Mountain View Manor, has always made a commitment to assisted living and its seniors, and it's a unique relationship in the state and it's a very special one," Gov. Knowles said. "The state is really glad to take a part in this. (Alaska Housing Finance Corp.) in these 20 units contributed some $800,000, so we were very proud to be a significant part in this.
"This is a step forward for the community, and most importantly it's a step forward for seniors who want to live in the community but need assisted living," he added.
Mayor Ted Smith, Wilson, and former Rep. Ben Grussendorf of Sitka also spoke. Smith thanked his father-in-law, the late Swede Wasvick, for helping to make the construction of the original facility possible. He also thanked the Senior Citizens' Housing Committee, as well as mayors and city councils who have worked on the project over the years.
Rep. Wilson said: "I am excited that this city has had the foresight to look into the future to see what the needs are going to be down the road, and this definitely is going to be something that will add to the quality of life of the people that live here in Petersburg."
"I've watched the general attitude of the people in Petersburg and the council and the mayors in relation with senior citizens and senior needs," said Grussendorf. "You're a community that's not quite as transient - this is where you''re born, this is where you live, and I think that's important that we all have that type of feeling."
Participants used six golden shovels to turn over the symbolic first shovelful of earth, and Gov. Knowles presented the mayor with a limited edition print of Denali by Alaska artist Byron Birdsall entitled "A new beginning."