News Alert: LIVE Anchorage Mayoral Election Results - Read More
  • Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 7s

Anchorage community councils provide sounding board for neighborhood concerns

By Kirsten Swann 6:40 PM October 16, 2013

Changes to council rules could open participation to teens

ANCHORAGE – Anchorage Assembly members are considering an ordinance amending the rules governing community councils.

“It doesn’t give them any more power, it just tries to reinforce how vital they are to this town,” said Assemblyman Dick Traini, co-sponsor of the ordinance. “The basic level of government we have in Anchorage are community councils.”

From Portage Valley to Eagle River, Anchorage communities are represented by 38 community councils, which are open to all comers, hold elections annually and meet anywhere from twice a year to every month. They provide public forums for residents to discuss neighborhood concerns, and for Mountain View resident Diane Mead, they’re an effective way of spearheading community change.

“I didn’t know how to get involved,” Mead said, who’s now the vice president of the Mountain View Community Council. “I saw problems, and it was endlessly calling the police saying ‘There’s a problem here, there’s a problem.’”

Mead said her work with the Mountain View council facilitated an ongoing dialogue with her neighbors about issues facing their entire Northeast Anchorage community. They’re currently battling a growing public inebriate problem Mead says stems from a neighborhood liquor store. After meeting about the issue Monday night, she said her council is preparing to take its findings to the Assembly and request it reconsider the liquor store’s conditional use permit.

Councils across Anchorage handle neighborhood concerns ranging from public safety to property issues, and Mead said there’s one guaranteed way to improve the process: more public involvement.

“We’re all volunteer, so when people say there aren’t enough patrols, that’s because the person doing the patrol has a job,” she said. “If you have a concern the best thing to do is to step up, and we will help get people involved.”

Traini said changes to the community councils’ governing ordinance could encourage increased public involvement. By dropping the age of participation from 18 to 16, he said councils could encourage civic participation from local teens looking to pick up an extra school credit or get a jump start on future political aspirations.

The Assembly is also looking to improve its own communication with Anchorage community councils. Traini said the ordinance would require councils to send their capital project requests directly to the Assembly rather than City Hall so the Assembly could vet projects and include them in its own legislative request list.

“Like tennis courts,” Traini said.

Click here for a map and contact information for Anchorage community councils.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Teachers face insecurity in wake of Anchorage School Board budget cuts

    by Shannon Ballard on May 05, 20:43

    Today, several Anchorage teachers are asking, “Will I have a job?” Bryan Bearss is a literacy coach. For the past year, he’s helped third graders at Abbott Loop Elementary get a better grip on reading and writing. But now, he’s learning that loving your job doesn’t mean that job is always going to be there. “Just the […]

  • News

    Anchorage high school student wins new car for perfect attendance

    by Heather Hintze on May 05, 19:34

    Five Anchorage high school students were rewarded for their perfect attendance this school year with the chance to win a new car. They were drawn randomly from the 386 juniors and seniors who haven’t missed a day of school. Bartlett High School senior Piyares Thongkerd moved to Alaska from Thailand two years ago. “If I go […]

  • News

    Birchwood residents concerned grizzly sow becoming a problem bear

    by Bonney Bowman on May 05, 18:22

    Residents in Birchwood are concerned a grizzly sow is becoming a problem bear. The sow reportedly has three cubs, which are almost fully grown. Residents say they’ve been raiding trashcans in the area around South Birchwood Loop and Jayhawk Road. The sow has reportedly lived in the area for at least the last four years, […]

  • News

    Anchorage noise advisory for 11-day JBER training period

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 05, 15:51

    Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson officials have announced an almost two-week long training involving small firearms, which may be heard in parts of Anchorage. The 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division will be training with firearms up to .50 caliber at JBER training ranges between May 5 and May 16, JBER officials said in an […]

  • News

    AST: Emergency crews respond to overturned float plane on Jim Lake

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 05, 14:59

    Emergency crews have been dispatched to a lake near Butte after receiving reports of a plane making an emergency landing Tuesday afternoon, authorities say. Just before 2 p.m., Alaska State Troopers were notified of a float plane in distress on Jim Lake off of Maud Road Extension, according to AST spokeswoman Megan Peters. Two people […]

  • News

    The Latest on Texas attack: White House says IS link unclear

    by Associated Press on May 05, 14:30

      The White House says “it’s too early to say” whether U.S. officials have been able to corroborate claims that the Islamic State group is responsible for a shooting outside a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Tuesday that the IS group and others were trying to capitalize on […]

  • News

    DMV: Grizzly bear license plates available Thursday

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 05, 13:54

    Revamped grizzly bear license plates will be available at all Alaska Department of Motor Vehicles offices starting Thursday, officials say. The revised take on the 1976 bicentennial standing grizzly bear plate was approved with the passage of former Rep. Peggy Wilson’s House Bill 293 in 2014. While the original designer of the bicentennial plate is unknown, […]

  • Politics

    Anchorage Assembly approves final 2015 operating budget

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 05, 13:29

    The Anchorage Assembly held a special meeting Monday to determine final edits to the Anchorage operating budget for 2015. The final budget, totaled at $483.6 million, is a slight increase from last year’s budget, according to Mayor Dan Sullivan’s office. Although the budget increased 1.4 percent, taxes owed by Anchorage homeowners went down. Taxes are […]