Senator proposes fed land purchase in Craig

Posted: Wednesday, October 29, 2003

KETCHIKAN - The federal government would buy almost 350 acres from the city of Craig under legislation introduced by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican.

If Congress approves the proposal, the city would use the proceeds to purchase a 10-acre former Wards Cove Packing Co. site on the waterfront at Third and Main streets. The city is considering building transient moorage space and parking there.

The legislation calls for the federal government to buy 349 acres of recreational land from Craig, including a trail leading to Mount Sunnahae, the trailhead, a parking area and mountaintop property.

It's not clear what the deal would cost the federal government.

The legislation requires an appraisal before the purchase could occur, according to Murkowski's office. The bill also allows for a $250,000 appropriation to the U.S. Forest Service for trail maintenance and property rehabilitation.

Murkowski said she introduced the bill last week at the request of Prince of Wales Island residents to help them diversify their economy, which has suffered from a downturn in the timber industry.

The closed salmon processing property includes about five acres of uplands and five acres of tidelands, said Jon Bolling, Craig city manager.

"The other nice thing about it is it's a redevelopment site," Bolling said. "It already has water and sewer utilities, and new development there wouldn't require the type of site preparation work typically associated with undeveloped property."

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