An effort to make Skagway more welcoming is moving forward. Last week, the assembly voted unanimously to adopt a resolution that emphasizes the municipality’s commitment to inclusiveness.
The resolution acknowledges that Skagway “is committed to maintaining a peaceful and inclusive community open to all,” and notes the town’s large number of visitors.
The move was motivated by the group Take Action Skagway, or TASK. The organization formed after the women’s march to promote positive political action. Earlier this year, they wrote a letter asking the municipality to take an official stance as a welcoming community.
Robin Solfisburg, one of TASK’s organizers, spoke with KHNS about the resolution in March.
“Having the city officially commit to having a safe place for people regardless of ethnicity, race, religious belief or sexual orientation,” said Solfisburg.
Assemblyman Orion Hanson is on the civic affairs committee that drafted the resolution.
“The basic premise of what’s here is that we do want people to feel welcome and safe in Skagway,” said Hanson. “Whoever they are. So I think it’s a good gesture. Because we do welcome people of all shapes and sizes off of the ships. And tourists from all over the world. So we want to extend that welcome, that we want you here no matter who you are.”
The resolution calls for the establishment of a welcome garden, to be situated within the Pullen Creek Shoreline Park.
Hanson said there were three possible options for a location along the trail, but two of them were less enticing.
“Number one is just not even going to be utilized. It’s too out of the way, people won’t even know it’s there. Spot number three is pretty exposed,” said Hanson. “The organic gardening club had serious concerns that anything that’s planted there would live. It’s right on the road, pretty compacted. Part of its already paved and it gets a lot more wind.”
He said the second option, which is situated in the middle of the StreamWalk trail away from busy roads makes the most sense.
“Number two is a little more protected and it would tie in really well with the features of the stream walk as they are,” said Hanson. “That is a very nice improvement the city’s invested in. And this would tie right into it. And it would be more visible, more visible than — maybe not as much as number three but I think in terms of the garden and surviving it probable makes a lot more sense.”
That’s the one the assembly voted for.
Draft plans for the space include a circle of bricks with the word ‘welcome’ in different languages, and a mosaic in the center.
Right now, the assembly has $5,000 set aside in next year’s budget for the garden. The municipality will work with the Skagway Organic Gardening Society to establish the new landmark.
You can see draft plans for the garden here.