The effort to revitalize Katlian Street kicked off Tuesday night (10-28-14) at ANB Founders Hall. The project was one of two chosen by participants at this year’s Sitka Health Summit. With planning underway, the project committee organized this meeting to gather ideas from stakeholders and curious citizens alike.
Paulette Moreno took the helm of this first meeting, which she proclaimed a success.
“Three weeks in, we already achieved a goal,” said Moreno. “This can be one of our goals. We had a great town meeting.”
About 40 people attended, among them interim city planning director Scott Brylinski and Kiksadi Point House Leader Fred Hope, who led the opening prayer. The project has four main goals: to improve walkability and safety; to share the area’s history and culture; to promote businesses; and to connect neighborhoods.
During a break-out session, the discussion dedicated to walkability and safety drew the most chairs. Participants voiced concerns about low lighting, the narrow street, and broken sidewalks. Bertha Karras runs a rental on Kaagwaantaan Street.
“I’m getting older and I find myself being a little wobbly anyway,” said Karras. “The walking streets are not safe at all.”
To solve this, participants suggested everything from making the road one-way, to opening a city-maintained stairwell from Katlian Street to Tlinget Way. Many wanted to install clear and historically accurate signs throughout the area.
In their research, Moreno said, the group turned over an unexpected stone. “Today many people just say Katlian and I have heard one of the corrector pronunciations is Katlian.”
Moreno also hopes to confirm the spelling of the street, named after the famous Tlingit war chief in the Battle of Sitka. Scott Saline has been a longtime resident of Katlian Street. Though he agreed that the street is difficult to navigate — by car or by foot — he wasn’t convinced that much could be done without involving the city more directly.
“Nobody knows where any of the lines are or zoning,” said Saline, adding, “It’s kind of a waste because nobody’s been taught where property is, where the city right of way is.”
The Celebrate Katlian group plans to review the ideas and determine next steps. They will hold their next town hall on November 17th at 6:30 at the ANB Founding Hall.