A golf course, new eateries show entrepreneurial spirit

Vantage Point

Posted: Sunday, December 05, 2004

Some random thoughts today on what I see as some positive points for and about Juneau:

An 18-hole golf course that would be constructed on the west side of Douglas Island is much closer to fruition, thanks to action taken last week by the Juneau Planning Commission. That's good news.

The planning commission recommended that the Juneau Assembly approve a 35-year lease with Totem Creek Inc. for development of a 274-acre, 18-hole golf course. The lease also would allow Totem Creek to purchase 300 acres of city-owned land on which to develop housing.

The particulars of the deal are that Totem Creek has five years to raise the $8 million to $10 million it will take to fund the golf course or the lease will not take effect.

While the proposal has its detractors, the addition of a regulation golf course would be good for Juneau in a number of ways. It would provide yet another recreational outlet for locals and for visitors from other Southeast communities, it would be of great benefit to the tourism industry and it could only boost the local economy.

Several new restaurants are set to open in Juneau in the coming months, and that's certainly good news in light of the recent closing of Taco Bell in the Mendenhall Valley, and with the loss of several eateries in last summer's downtown fire.

The lineup includes Costa's Tin Pan Alley Diner, set to open in downtown's Merchants Wharf; Kenny's Wok and Teriyaki Sushi Bar, which is planned for 124 Front St.; The Island Pub, which will open in the former location of Mike's Place at 1102 Second St. in Douglas; and a new restaurant at Second and Seward streets in downtown Juneau to be owned and operated by Heritage Coffee Co. owner and president Grady Saunders.

The new openings will come on the heels of Ravens Café, which opened in the Imperial Bar in downtown Juneau last April, and Doc Waters, which opened in Merchants Wharf last summer.

Juneauites can be glad on two fronts: more local fare and signs that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive, well and thriving here.

Southeast transportation projects will benefit from a $388 billion spending bill passed by Congress two weeks ago, and $2 million of that will go to the Juneau Access Project, under which the state plans to build a road from Juneau to Skagway. The money won't affect an extension of Glacier Highway from Echo Cove to Cascade Point, a project that has another source of funding.

The $2 million will most likely be spent on completion of the Juneau Access environmental impact statement (EIS) and on early phases of the state's chosen alternative for the proposed roadway.

The funding will be beneficial for, at the very minimum, it moves the project forward and wraps up the final version of the much anticipated EIS.

• Robert Hale is publisher of the Juneau Empire. He can be reached at robert.hale@juneauempire.com.

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