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Big Lake moves toward incorporation

By Kirsten Swann 11:51 PM October 11, 2013

Development, infrastructure needs prompt push for self-government

BIG LAKE – Big Lake residents are making a push to incorporate into a city of their own.

Bill Kramer, president of the Big Lake Community Council, said a petition to bring the issue to vote required 140 signatures for certification by the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. So far, it’s garnered more than 200. Kramer said petition organizers are preparing to finalize the process with the Borough next week.

“We have a very active community council and community, for that matter,” Kramer said. “We just think that we might be able to have a bigger say in local matters if we were able to represent the community itself through a city.”

Darcie Salmon, who represents Big Lake in the Mat-Su Borough Assembly, was unavailable for comment Thursday. His district encompasses everything from the Knik-Fairview area to Point Mackenzie — Kramer said many Big Lake residents felt incorporation could give them a more personal level of government.

He said it all hinges on roads.

The Big Lake area alone has more than 100 miles of roads, roughly 80 of which are unpaved. But U.S. Census Bureau statistics show the Big Lake population has expanded more than twice as fast as the rest of the state over the past decade, and Kramer said an ongoing community impact assessment of development at Point Mackenzie projected a major growth in traffic through Big Lake over the coming years.

“Big lake is in the crosshairs of development,” Kramer said. “You can either be an active, willing participant, or you can sit by and let it happen based on what other people feel is best for the area we happen to live in.”

If the petition is certified, Kramer said the issue would tentatively come up for vote in the Borough’s 2014 regular election.

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