Morris Communications vows to develop Taku Dock to Marine Park

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) The Docks and Harbors Board greeted a developer that wants to grow Juneau's downtown waterfront to accommodate future needs.

    Allen Grinalds, Real Estate Director for Morris Communications, said he is very impressed with the plan put forth by Corvus Design to develop the Archipelago property.  "It's impressive.  There has been a lot of heavy lifting by the Docks and Harbors Board.  We are excited about the potential of the property."

    Chris Mertl of Corvus Design made a presentation on the preferred plan for the area.  This follows months of meetings and public input.  The plan includes inviting and open public space, a centralized pavilion and shelter, a 150 foot floating dock, the USS Juneau Memorial Plaza, a new visitor center and restroom, deck over open areas, and space for eight foot carts and or trucks.  It will also include some retail space. 

    Morris Communications is the former owner of the Juneau Empire.  Grinalds said they have transitioned from a media company into a real estate company.  He said they want to add value to the community, develop something that is enduring and lasting, and are committed to Juneau, "The time is now.  Time really does kill deals.  I can't say that our situation will be the same in two years.  We have a lot of momentum right now."

    The current plan does not include a playground for children, a priority of some in the public.  That could always come later or in a different location.  Grinalds said he did like the idea of food carts and vendors calling it something different and fresh.

    The Docks and Harbors Board had few comments on the proposed plan.  They are scheduled to vote on the matter November 30.

    In other actions, the Board recommended the Assembly support the State of Alaska Municipal Harbor Facility Grant Program in the Fiscal Year 2019 State budget.  The plan includes $5 million for Crescent Harbor in Sitka, $1.35 million for the City of Whittier Small Boat Harbor and $1.5 million for Eliason Harbor in Sitka.  Juneau applied for two grants under the program, $140,000 for Douglas Harbor and $120,000 for Harris Harbor.

    The Board also approved a resolution that urges the Assembly to support Senate Bill 92, an Act that would request the state to vigorously attack the problem of abandoned and derelict vessels in Alaska waters. 

    The Board approved $200,000 to install new restrooms and showers at Harris Harbor.  The permits for Shatter Harbor have been slightly delayed due to noise problems construction might cause for endangered species like sea lions and humpback whales. 

    The city is also working on the removal of the Lumberman from the harbor.  The U.S Coast Guard inspected the vessel on November 2 and found a significant amount of oil on board.  Harbor Master Dave Borg said the owner told him he plans to move the vessel to Petersburg.  The city has has impounded 10 boats in Aurora Harbor that haven't been moved in a considerable amount of time.


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