Sitka has been awarded over $7.8 million dollars in federal grant money to reconstruct the sheet pile bulkhead and crane at the Marine Services Center. 

When the Sitka Assembly met on Tuesday (10-25-22) it approved a 20 percent match for the funding, which the assembly greenlit when they applied for the grant. However, municipal administrator John Leach said the match amount now was slightly higher than the 1.9 million they’d initially estimated.

“About $2.1 million is the match we’re going to be looking for now,” Leach said. The match amount was slightly higher than they’d planned, “because the staff time on management of an administration of that grant is not going to be an allowable expense coming from existing city staff, and we estimated that to be about 16 hours of work per week. So this is essentially building that that in so we can charge this charge that work towards this this project.”

According to a memo presented to the assembly, the steel sheet pile retaining wall was originally constructed in 1976, and over the years several different methods have been installed to reduce corrosion of the piling, but it is in need of an overhaul. The land the cold storage building sits on is held up by the wall as well. 

Assembly member Thor Christianson congratulated city staff on winning the highly competitive federal RAISE grant. 

“This is a need we’ve known about for years. But we just couldn’t figure out how to pay for it,” Christianson said. “And so I think John and his staff deserve a pat in the back for going out and getting this grant and preserving [a] very important part of our working waterfront.” 

The assembly unanimously approved the $2.1 million in matching city funds, which will be split between the Harbor Fund and the Marine Service Center fund.