“If it wasn't for the environment on the street this place would be full -- it's the environment around us."
ANCHORAGE – The issue of chronic alcoholics in Anchorage isn’t new, but one local business owner said it’s destroying the neighborhood of Fairview.
Patrick Krochina, owner of Restoration Ventures, purchased the office building located at 13th Avenue and Gambell Street back in 2007.
He said he and his partner bought it because they wanted to give back to the community and turn the neighborhood around.
At first it was tough, Krochina said, because of all the restoration they had to do to the building. Since then, things have only gotten worse.
“If it wasn’t for the environment on the street this place would be full — it’s the environment around us,” he said. “The biggest concern for everybody else is don’t let it come into our neighborhood.”
On any given day, Krochina said, you can find dozens of chronic alcoholics hanging out in this area.
“This intersection becomes a detriment,” he said. “It’s a public safety issue.”
Because of the problems, he said, two of his three tenants have left.
“I’m a property owner, I have no choice,” he said. “I’m in desperation, the issue is if they continue like this, I lose the building. This thing becomes like a DMZ zone.”
He said he feels the Municipality of Anchorage is partly to blame.
“What we’re doing is not working, all we’re doing is enabling them by taking them down there, dropping them off and bringing them back out here,” Krochina said. “It’s all located right here. There’s two liquor stores, mental health lab; it’s like a perfect storm.”
According to Anchorage police, the department received 238 drunk and transport response calls for service within a 370-foot radius of this area in 2013, compared to 343 in 2012. The numbers for this year haven’t been released yet.
Anchorage Assemblymen Patrick Flynn represents the Downtown area and said the issue is on his radar.
“Not so much that we are addressing the issue as effectively as we should, we tend to displace the issue and then it just rotates around . So really it comes down to, how do we help break the cycle?” Flynn said.
There’s been talk of eliminating the bus stop in the area, Flynn said, or even moving the two liquor stores.
“If we eliminate those things, will it eliminate the problem? I think it would move the problem, but I don’t think it would eliminate it,” Flynn said.
But for Krochina, time is running out for businesses like his.
“Why it’s my issue that I have to come up with a great solution so they do something, is crazy,” Krochina said.
Krochina said he plans to testify about this issue at Tuesday’s Anchorage Assembly meeting.