• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
3m 23s

Fighting for neighborhood funds

By Rhonda McBride 5:31 AM February 28, 2014

Lawmakers warn of tight capital funding

JUNEAU – For the past three years, two Anchorage Assembly members have come to Juneau with constituents in tow.

Dick Traini and Elvi Gray-Jackson target lawmakers who live in their districts, but they usually let their constituents do the talking. The Assembly members believe they are more effective in making the sales pitch for neighborhood projects.

The Municipality of Anchorage has a long legislative wish list, and according to Traini, it’s easy for neighborhood projects to fall off the radar. Megaprojects like the expansion of the Port of Anchorage get most of the attention.

“While the Port needs to get done, you’ve got the neighborhood issues,” Traini said. “That’s where people live, and they spent the majority of their life’s savings buying a house.”

Traini, Gray-Jackson and the three citizens who traveled with them to Juneau all paid their own way, something the Community Councils in their districts appreciate.

“I have the full support of my Community Council, the North Star Community Council,” said Jen Clark, who is in Juneau to ask lawmakers for money to prevent flooding near Valley of the Moon Park. “Everybody knows, my neighbors – we’re all communicating on Facebook and really hoping we can finally get this issue resolved.”

Clark’s home has been flooded three times because of ice jam floods that occur when a culvert is clogged. Clark showed lawmakers pictures of water gushing out of electrical outlets.

The fix? A new bridge where Chester Creek crosses Arctic Boulevard. It would give the water and ice more room to pass.

Flooding is also a problem off East Klatt Road. Just as in Clark’s case, ever since flood waters washed into Susan Pacillo-Kennedy’s home, it’s never been the same again. Mold has made it impossible to live on the ground floor. Pacillo-Kennedy’s neighborhood needs a million dollars for road drainage improvements.

Cindi Squire came to champion Sylvan Drive, which traditionally has been more like a driveway than a road.

She’s asking for $4.5 million to deal with drainage issues, as well as fire hydrants, which don’t work.

In her visit with Sen. Berta Gardner, she showed pictures of a Valentine’s Day fire that gutted two condominiums.

“It’s absolutely horrible,” Squire told Gardner. “The fire department had to call in the extra units so they could run fire hoses from one operating fire hydrant a block away.”

Gardner warned that money will be tighter than ever this session.

“People need to adjust their expectations, and that’s across the board,” Gardner said. “In this issue, I would hope you finally get the full funding, because what doesn’t pass this year may not ever get through, so this is the time for a full court press.”

Gardner advised her visitors to write letters to the editor and put opinion pieces in the newspaper.

Other stops included Rep. Chris Tuck’s office, as well as Sen. Lesil McGuire’s, where an aide spent time listening to them explain why their projects deserve funding.

Tuck and McGuire helped get the dollars needed to study the problems on Sylvan Drive.

“Last year, we came down late in the session,” Traini said. “But Lesil McGuire and Chris Tuck were good, instrumental in getting that project moved to the design phase. So now we’re back for construction.”

The group also paid a visit to Sen. Kevin Meyer’s office. He’s co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee, a position that can be influential in funding projects.

Traini and Gray-Jackson believe lawmakers get more motivated to help when they hear people tell their own stories.

But Gray-Jackson warns that it takes persistence. She said the Legislature did pass funding for one neighborhood project she supported, but the governor vetoed it. The next session they fought for the project again — and the second time around, the governor approved it.

“So anything worth fighting for is never easy,” Gray-Jackson said. “Mr. Traini and I, we’re fighters. We want to do what’s right for our constituents.”

Latest Stories

  • News

    More parking spaces planned for Campbell Park

    by Alexis Fernandez on Nov 30, 22:42

    A park in Midtown Anchorage is getting some upgrades to help make it safer and more inviting to the neighborhood. On Monday, crews demolished the old Fire Station 4 building to make room for up to 30 new parking spaces at the Campbell Park. The building was being used by the Anchorage Parks and Recreation […]

  • Sports

    Alaska cousins finally meet through basketball

    by Dave Goldman on Nov 30, 22:18

    Basketball players can come from anywhere and everywhere, and on the Eagle River Christian High School team, they do. But where Wallace Unwiluk is from is only a part of the curiosity. How he arrived in Anchorage is another. Wallace hails from Gambell, Alaska, which is “approximately 45 miles from Russia.” Wallace’s cousin, Khalil, plays for Eagle River Christian. One […]

  • News

    Upcycling creates wool sweater shortage at Anchorage thrift stores

    by Shannon Ballard on Nov 30, 20:00

    People who repurpose wool sweaters say there’s a shortage of the fabric in Anchorage, thanks to the “upcycling” trend. One artist said she gets sweaters shipped in from her sister in Canada, and another stocks up during the summer. “Upcycling” is ushering in a new wave of innovation. Entrepreneurs like Bonnie Getter have created entire businesses around […]

  • News

    Bethel addresses hiring, housing woes with new homes for first responders

    by Bonney Bowman on Nov 30, 19:43

    For communities in rural Alaska, hiring good employees isn’t always the biggest challenge. Sometimes, it’s finding those employees a place to live. “We have a huge lack of housing, especially a lack of quality housing,” said Bethel Community Services Foundation executive director, Michelle DeWitt. That lack can lead to problems, especially when it comes to […]

  • News

    Juneau mayor found dead, police investigating

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 30, 18:27

    Updated at 9:15 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 30 Juneau’s Mayor Stephen “Greg” Fisk was found dead in his home Monday afternoon, according to Juneau Police. His adult son reportedly called 911 at 3:34 p.m. to report he had found his father dead inside his residence on the 400 block of Kennedy Street in Juneau, a statement […]

  • Politics

    Group files for petition to repeal Anchorage equal rights ordinance

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 30, 18:05

    A group led by a conservative morning talk show host is trying to repeal Anchorage’s equal rights ordinance. On Wednesday, KFQD host Bernadette Wilson filed for a petition with the municipal clerk’s office. The proposed petition would ask voters “Shall AO No. 2015-96 (S1) (as amended), an ordinance adding sexual orientation and gender identity to Title […]

  • News

    Alaska State Troopers create new unit to focus on violent crimes

    by Associated Press on Nov 30, 17:58

    Alaska State Troopers say a new unit has been created to focus on violent crimes in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region. Troopers say a patrol sergeant and two patrol troopers from the Bethel post have been assigned to the new violent offenders unit. Officials say the unit officially will be established on Tuesday. The changes have […]

  • News

    Video of Anchorage teen being assaulted prompts outrage, $100,000 lawsuit

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 30, 17:49

    ANCHORAGE — The father of an Anchorage teenager who was filmed being beaten by a group of fellow teens has filed a lawsuit against the homeowner where the attack allegedly occurred, seeking over $100,000, according to court documents. The video, which was recorded July 26, 2015, shows a group of girls — ranging in age […]