Local News

State blocks $15 million Hoonah dock grant

Zipline riders watch a cruise ship anchored near Hoonah's Icy Strait Point tourist attraction as they descend. The state is blocking a grant to build a new cruise-ship dock because the attraction and cruise lines object to its location. Photo Courtesy Icy Strait Point.

Zipline riders watch a cruise ship anchored near Hoonah’s Icy Strait Point tourist attraction as they descend. The state is blocking a grant to build a new cruise-ship dock because the attraction and cruise lines object to its location. Photo Courtesy Icy Strait Point.

State officials say they’ll withdraw funding for a $15 million Hoonah dock unless the Southeast city changes the facility’s location.

The money was appropriated by the Legislature, in part to support the town’s Icy Strait Point tourist attraction, 40 air miles west of Juneau.

Community and Regional Affairs Director Scott Ruby sent a letter earlier this month threatening to take away the grant. He also put a hold on any project spending.

He says it’s because the cruise industry doesn’t like the dock’s location.

“The primary use was going to be a cruise ship dock. But also, when it’s not being used for a cruise ship dock, it would be constructed such that it could be used for other purposes (such as) freight and ferries and whatever. It’s a multiuse dock,” he says.

Two other proposed locations are acceptable to the industry, as well as Native village corporation Huna Totem, which developed Icy Strait Point.

The state made a similar threat more than a year ago, but the conflict was not resolved.

Hoonah City Administrator Bob Prunella says officials won’t comment until they meet with the state. That’s scheduled to happen Thursday, Aug. 29.

Sitka’s Bert Stedman represents Hoonah in the Senate. He says local leaders need to decide whether to move ahead.

“I think it’s a good idea for Hoonah to have a dock. But you need to build facilities that will help the industry prosper and move forward with the community,” he says.

Hoonah has about two weeks to respond to the state. Officials will then decide whether to block funding.

The original legislative grant was for $17 million. Lawmakers last spring diverted $2 million to a clinic project approved by Hoonah leaders.

Stedman diverted another $5 million to a swimming pool at the state’s Mount Edgecumbe boarding high school in Sitka. Governor Sean Parnell vetoed that provision, saying the money should stay in Hoonah.

Hear an earlier report on the the dock issue: Hoonah dock project sparks controversy. 

Comments

Please read our comment guidelines.

Recent News

Cathy Cuenin: Living With What Is

Author and former hospice nurse Cathy Cuenin has personal experience living with cancer and transplant. She's developed a tool for helping people manage overwhelming situations. She's giving a workshop today (8-27-14) at Brave Heart Volunteers (Noon, Pioneer Home Manager's House, lunch provided. Suggested donation $45, scholarships available). more

Sitka schools look to state to fund new standards

As it develops its list of legislative priorities, the Sitka School Board may back a plan to upgrade the Vilandre Field to equal Moller Park, in order to resolve a Title IX complaint. (KCAW photo/Robert Woolsey)
The Sitka School Board will consider asking the state legislature for almost $2-million in the coming year, in order to help the district meet newly-adopted standards. The board convened in its first regular session of the new school year Monday night (8-25-14). Meeting state education standards is the first of several costly priorities in Sitka’s schools this year. Also a possibility: A $1.5-million upgrade of Vilandre Field. more