ANCHORAGE - A controversial housing project for chronic inebriates may be on the move. Karluk Manor has been in its present location in Fairview for just over a year but could move to a new spot in Mountain View.
Bob Thomas has lived at the facility since it opened and said he has been sober for a month. That’s not a requirement to live in Karluk Manor, but Thomas said he has been inspired by having a roof over his head and a safe place to sleep.
“I just turned fifty,” said Thomas. “I still have a lot of life left and it’s time to straighten up and move on.”
Thomas is one of 46 residents at Karluk who may be moving on to Mountain View in a planned backed by Mayor Sullivan. Sullivan says he likes the program but he’s never liked the location in Fairview, bordered by busy streets and local businesses.
“They have a lot of social service facilities located in their area,” said the mayor. “And it seems to be a magnet for a certain population, so I think that’s been on the back burner ever since the facility was constructed.”
The plan targets an undeveloped five-acre parcel owned by the state where an even bigger building could go in. The property is on Reeve Boulevard on the edge of Mountain View closest to Downtown. And although the location is slightly more remote, there are still businesses nearby, and not all are ready to welcome new neighbors.
“We don’t want problems here and I kind of think that’s going to bring some problems in our neck of the woods," said Dave Mabeus, owner of SignCo, a business just across the street.
Mabeus said it seemed like a waste of money to build a new building when the old one had just been remodeled a year ago. But a spokesman for RurAL CAP, which owns the building, said selling the old facility would help to finance the new. Ken Scollan said they weren’t for the move originally, but have slowly come around.
“It’s not our first choice to relocate,” said Scollan. “However, if we get to serve more clients, and it is our mission to serve this population, and we get a bigger better building in the process, it’s a pretty good situation.”
The move isn’t up to RurAL CAP entirely, nor is it up to Mayor Sullivan, but Sullivan says the city will do whatever it can to help facilitate the move if that’s what is decided.