A new senior center and housing facility is the latest Skagway project ready to move forward in the planning phase.
In October, voters narrowly approved a $6 million bond to support the senior center. Now, the borough is set to send out a request for design proposals.
The borough assembly will review a draft RFP at its meeting this week. It asks for designs of a senior center with seven apartments. It also says if there is no additional expense, the proposer should include a cost estimate for a senior center without apartments.
There is $375,000 already budgeted for engineering work on the project. At a recent meeting, Assemblyman Steve Burnham Jr. said the borough should be conservative with spending on the project.
“We can’t forget that the vote for bonding the senior center passed by five votes, and that’s not very much,” Burnham said. “And so there’s a large contingent of the community that isn’t interested in paying for this building with their property tax.”
The assembly will also consider whether to commission an updated cruise ship passenger tax study. The last study, completed in 2008, offers rationales for the way Skagway uses the funds. The money is restricted to projects or services that benefit cruise visitors.
There was a scare earlier this year when the state legislature considered a measure that would withhold the head tax funding from port communities. It would have meant a $4 million loss for Skagway.
Borough officials say updating the CPV study would put Skagway’s access to funding on firmer ground. It would cost up to $7,500.
The assembly will hear an update from Mayor Mark Schaefer on a recent meeting with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. The meeting focused on addressing contamination in the ore basin.
There is also a discussion item on the agenda about municipal land sales. New Assembly member Orion Hanson brought up that topic earlier this month.
“I’ve been really thinking about this for a long time,” Hanson said. “Where can you open up property for people to buy that’s build-able, that you can actually build houses on, that’s not going to be too radical a cost for the city or the buyer?”
The meeting starts at 7 p.m. Thursday in assembly chambers.