Local News

Officials consider downtown tourism changes

A cruise ship anchors near downtown Sitka. Passengers take small lightering boats to local docks. IEd Schoenfeld/CoastAlaska News)

A cruise ship anchors near downtown Sitka. Passengers take small lightering boats to local docks. (Ed Schoenfeld/CoastAlaska)

The Sitka Assembly is taking up a request for a downtown tourist shuttle bus at its regular meeting Oct. 22.

The shuttle is one of several proposals put forth by downtown businesses and the Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce.

A recent letter from 14 stores, restaurants and bars said cruise-ship tourists don’t walk very far from Sitka’s two lightering docks.

The letter says those dropped off near Centennial Hall visit businesses on the east side of downtown. Those using the O’Connell Bridge dock mostly stay on the west side.

The merchants’ letter asks that an equal number of lightering boats use each dock, spreading shopping among all businesses.

It also suggests the city run a shuttle bus or trolley in a loop through downtown. The businesses say cruise-ship passenger fees could fund the service.

The city drafted a letter that goes before the assembly at the meeting.

It agrees to try to arrange an equal number of stops at the two lightering docks.
But it says the city cannot commit to a shuttle at this time.

The assembly will also take up a contract to complete the ANB Harbor float-replacement project. Seattle-based Pacific Pile and Marine submitted the lowest qualified bid at about $3.6 million.

The panel will also appoint seven members of the city Health Needs and Human Services Commission. Nine people have applied.

The assembly will also name one member each of the Sawmill Cove Industrial Park board and the Tree and Landscape Committee.

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