Wanamaker helped get Eaglecrest on track

Letter to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Every community needs good state legislators to help guide its destiny. I support Randy Wanamaker for House District 4 in the upcoming election. Wanamaker is a person of experience who has proven his commitment to the city of Juneau by serving many years on the Juneau School Board and Assembly. There have been many critical issues that he has diligently worked on during his terms in office.

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As an example, there is one issue in particular that I would like to point out - the Eaglecrest Ski Area. This enterprise has been operating since 1975. I have been involved with the project since its initial planning and development phase, which started back in 1967. I remain active today in volunteer ski patrolling at the area and doing all I can to keep it a positive community asset that we can all point to with pride.

But over the past 32 years, Eaglecrest has often flared up as a controversial issue because of its effect on the municipal budget. Financially, it has never been a self-supporting enterprise. Municipal subsidies have ranged from a low of $103,000 in fiscal year 1989 to a high of $388,000 in fiscal year 2003. It was at this time that the Juneau Assembly gave direction to the ski area manager and board to come up with a sound strategic plan with goals for the future, and a sound annual business plan to attain those goals. Wanamaker was a driving force in the Assembly to implement this effort.

The strategic plan exists today, and every year it is updated. I was able to attend an Eaglecrest Retreat session on Oct. 7 at the lodge. The retreat was primarily a management-team training and team-building session between the ski area manager and seven board members. It was conducted by a representative from Professional Growth Systems in Anchorage. The group came up with specific new meaningful goals and targets that should keep operations going in the right direction for many years into the future. The new vision statement focuses on Eaglecrest becoming a viable yearlong recreation area. In this respect, there's a proposal underway to change its name from Eaglecrest Ski Area to Eaglecrest Recreation Area. I think it's a good idea, one that will give it a better up-front image of the outdoor recreation values that do exist for everyone of all ages to enjoy. More winter and summer usage in the area will definitely help in more Assembly support during the budget process. I give lots of credit to Wanamaker for his managerial insight in helping to get Eaglecrest on the right track.

Bob Janes Sr.

Douglas



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