City ponders Salmon Creek building's fate

Posted: Monday, December 11, 2000

The city will consider what to do with the Salmon Creek office building that housed the now-defunct Health and Social Services Department at a Juneau Assembly work session tonight.

Two options are to move the Community Development and Building departments into the facility or to grant a lease to the Juneau Alliance for Mental Health Inc., a nonprofit group that now occupies the building and provides some of the services once offered by the building's former tenants.

In a memorandum to city staff comparing the Salmon Creek building with current facilities the Community Development Department is renting in the Marine View Center, department Director Cheryl Easterwood objected that Salmon Creek has less room, insufficient parking, would require significant remodeling, and would need an additional 1,800 square feet to accommodate permit files.

"The Salmon Creek building was basically designed as a social services building," said Deputy Mayor John MacKinnon, chairman of tonight's work session. "The offices were designed to allow confidentiality between clients and social services staff." The design does not lend itself easily to the operations of a permit center, he said.

The Juneau Alliance for Mental Health wants to acquire the building, valued at $1 million, according to the nonprofit's director, Brenda Knapp. JAMHI has a tenancy agreement with the city that allows it to occupy the premises at no cost until the end of this calendar year. It is seeking to extend that agreement until Dec. 31, 2001, with a view to buying the building.

At its meeting tonight, the assembly will also review how the transfer of the old social services department's responsibilities to nonprofits has fared. The work session begins at 5 p.m. in assembly chambers.

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