Selling off the park is within the GPIP board's mission: “Unlike other property owned by the municipality, the former Alaska Pulp Corporation mill site was acquired not for governmental purposes from the state or federal government, but for economic development and disposal." (GPIP photo)

The GPIP board has awarded a contract to Turnagain Marine Construction to build a multi-purpose dock at Sawmill Cove (GPIP photo)

In Sitka, the Gary Paxton Industrial Park Board has chosen a contractor to build a multi-purpose dock at the facility, to be completed by January 2018. The dock would primarily support the freight and fishing industries, and provide space for in-water commercial boat work.

Park Director Garry White is excited about all the services the floating dock could provide, such as locations to transfer freight and fish and for commercial boat work to be done in water.

“We’re getting closer to having a dock that’s going to meet the needs of what folks have told us in public meetings. I think it’s going to be a home run to the Industrial Park and to help the economy here,” White said.

The dock got its start in 2012, when Sitka received a $7.5 million Legislative Grant from the state. The city spent the money on consultants and geotechnical work to outline the project and requested bids come under $6.8 million.

The board then put out an RFP and received four proposals on August 18th. All four were over that $6.8 million threshold. So, rather than ask the Sitka Assembly for more money, the board asked the consultants to go back to the drawing board and seek a cheaper design.

On September 27th, the board received proposals from three of those firms that provided six design options, ranging from $6.2 million to $9.3 million. The board then met in executive session on Monday (10-17-16) and chose Turnagain Marine Construction Corporation as the “best value option” for Sitka.

See full press release here: gpip-multi-use-dock-project

KCAW asked if there is capacity at the dock for a full-service marine haul out. White said he’d prefer private industry finance such a dock. He added, “If we want to follow what Wrangell did and Hoonah, we’re going to have to have a big cash injection. Right now with the city, state, and federal budgets, that’s kind of unlikely.”

But, White speculated, perhaps marine contractors could jump start a haul out down the line. The city will now hammer out a design build contract with Turnagain Marine Construction, which will require approval from both the GPIP board and the Sitka Assembly.