Assembly Member Gladziszewski Talks on Mendenhall River Erosion

    Juneau, AK (KINY) - The issue of whether or not residents would have to pay for river structures that would help reduce erosion damage has been put to rest for now.

    This comes after two years of working with the federal government that would have paid about 75% of the costs, but would leave property owners with about $80K a piece. The City Manager recommended that the ordinance not be adopted and was put to vote where it failed 6-3.

    Assembly member Maria Gladziszewski spoke on this issue in an interview with News of the North. Gladziszewski said that they did not get to hear as much from those affected as she would have liked.

    “What's already happened is that we've had more than two years of discussion on it. Basically the bottom line is residents who live there are not clear, there is not a majority to do this. There are some people who think they should pay less money some people who are you know gung-ho; the current vote was 9 to 9 with a bunch of property owners not responding, so it's not clear what those property owners are actually for it or against it.”

    “They didn't tell us.”

    Unlike similar issues, this came as a large cost that would have really impacted those families.

    “When you do an LID, the assembly can do it regardless of the vote, but normally you don't want to assess a property if most people don't want it. Usually LIDs are for smaller amounts of money, like $5,000 to pave the road, and so sometimes you'll get a 60/40 vote and you'll still do it because the road needs to be paved.”

    “In this case it's very specific and it's a lot of money.”

    Gladziszewski felt sorry for those that had spent the time to try and work with neighbors on a solution.

    “I really feel bad for the residents on that river who worked hard to make this happen and have worked diligently with their neighbors to try to explain and there were still some neighbors who really wanted to do it and we're willing to do it and spend an awful lot of time on it.”

    “By the same token there were some residents who were violently opposed and declared that they would do everything in their power to make it not happen and so this would require easements along properties and individual property owners could make it difficult for the project and just muck up the whole thing basically.”

    She admits that this issue was challenging for all involved.

    “Hopefully the residents go back and think about it and if more happens along their waterfront, maybe they'll come back, I don't know it's it's been a long haul and I know a lot of members neighborhood are exhausted.”

    “Some of them are looking at erosion right in front of their house;it's a difficult, difficult issue.”

    She continued, saying that to get a similar solution on the table, it would take an entirely new process.

    “If there's another emergency residents who have property there and the city can get together and start this whole thing all over again and start asking the federal government for assistance and go through the whole process again.”

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