Waldron Lake Supporters Score a Win
Sale to city will benefit Boys & Girls Clubs
ANCHORAGE - It’s all about the power of a local lake and the efforts of a few passionate residents. It's been a year since Governor Sean Parnell cut funding to save Waldron Lake. This year the popular park escaped the veto pen and the effects could be felt throughout the community.
Located just off busy Tudor Road, Waldron Lake is full of wildlife and recreation opportunities. It's been considered an outdoor jewel for over 40 years now, but its impact goes beyond the neighborhood, as supporters say it has power to support people all over the city.
“How can you argue with this view; I mean look at that its gorgeous,” said Cherie Northon, who has fought for Waldron Lake in the past two years. Now, she's relishing the phone call she didn't expect to get.
“I got a call last week saying guess what, [Governor Sean Parnell] didn't veto it, the budget has gone through.” They’re words she was happy to hear, because it wasn't an easy road to victory.
Both residents and lawmakers lobbied Parnell. The proposal was to allow the municipality to buy Waldron Lake from the Boys & Girls Clubs with $4 million of state money.
“At the beginning I didn't know what a community asset Waldron Lake was, but some of the neighbors convinced me of that,” said Senator Johnny Ellis (D-Anchorage). “I made the case that it affects the entire community and got Mayor [Dan] Sullivan on board, got the Anchorage Assembly on board.”
It’s a win-win situation because the sale will benefit the community and the Boys & Girls Clubs who needs the money to help support Alaska’s kids. “It's the people who come here for the dog trails, the police and the fire department using the ice rescue, it’s people who come here for soccer games,” said Northon.
“Money goes into our programs to support our 10,000 kids that we serve annually, and allows us to do a little bit of expansion in that we're able to put a few more staff in the clubs,” said Boys & Girls Clubs of Alaska CEO Alana Humphrey.
It’s a major victory in the battle to protect one of the city's unique greenbelts, all because people who cared refused to give up. The sale of Waldron Lake to the city should happen in the next six months. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Alaska also has agreed to maintain the 16.9 acres for 20 years. In the meantime, Waldron Lake supporters are planning a celebration sometime this summer.