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Neighbors want street improvements promised 30 years ago

By Lauren Maxwell Photojournalist: John Thain - 7:49 PM August 27, 2014

People who live in an Anchorage neighborhood are asking the state Legislature to fund street repairs they say were promised 30 years ago.

The street is Sylvan Drive, a residential road off the Old Seward Highway just south of Dowling Road. Cindi Squire lives in the neighborhood and is leading the fight to have the road repaired.

“There are thousands and thousands of people twice a day going up and down the street and the deterioration is really showing,” Squire said.

Thirty years ago, Sylvan Drive was a private road that led to a single condominium complex. The city agreed to take over the road and promised to make repairs. That was in 1984. Sylvan said the money that was set aside was lost in the economic crash that followed the following year and the street never saw any of the upgrades that were promised.

Today, the same street serves a neighborhood with more than 500 households and is the only way in and out for three different subdivisions.

The constant wear and tear includes major problems with drainage that, in turn, causes issues with heaving, potholes and cracks, Squire said.

Squire has tried to get it fixed before; she’s even gone to Juneau to ask for funds. A trip two years ago resulted in money for redesign of Sylvan Drive as well as another street that connects with it. The preliminary plan has yet to come out, but she’s hopeful about what it will contain.

“I want sidewalks, I want storm drains, I want street lights and I want a road that won’t kill my car when I try to drive to my house,” Squire said. “So that’s what we are here to support.”

Squire is still working to get the money to complete the project, which is estimated to come in around $4.5 million. She said lawmakers have promised to make it a priority this year.

She is keeping her fingers crossed the funds will be included in this year’s state budget. That would put the earliest start date in 2016.

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