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Recreation area to airport runway?

By Heather Hintze 7:00 AM February 13, 2014

The airport wants to acquire area near Point Woronzof that could potentially be used for future expansion.

ANCHORAGE – Could land around Point Woronzof eventually be used to build a new airport runway?

That’s one issue the West Anchorage Land Trade Task Force is looking into.

There are 30 parcels around the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport that have land use or ownership conflicts. The airport owns Point Woronzof Park, the popular place to watch planes fly overhead or catch a scenic sunset.

The Municipality of Anchorage owns parcel 17 — which is actually Point Woronzof itself — just a short way down the Coastal Trail.

Airport Manager John Parrot said the airport wants to acquire that tract of land to expand in the future.

“At this point in time, there are no specific proposals for airport development in many of these areas but as the airport looks at the aerial photos it appears obvious to us that trying to acquire and be ready to develop property that’s away from the residential areas would help us be good neighbors,” Parrot said.

He said if the airport exchanges or buys that parcel it would be used to build another north-south runway. While that would take out a portion of the parklands, Parrot said there would still be some form of the Coastal Trail for Recreation.

The Anchorage Parks and Recreation Department wants to make sure the lands stay available for public use.

“We have all these places, these beloved places that Anchorage park and trail users love to go to,” said Parks Superintendent Holly Spoth-Torres. “Parks and Recreation is at the table to make sure that we protect these public outdoor spaces for people. There’s a lot of creative ideas coming to the table on how we can make sure both the airport and Anchorage public has the land they need in order to do business.”

The airport and parks department are part of the task force. Both hope a collaborative discussion over the next few months will come up with balanced solutions on what to do with the coveted resource. On Wednesday, the group discussed proposals on what needs to be done to the 30 parcels if a land exchange does not happen.  At its next meeting it will look at possible scenarios that could happen with a multi-agency exchange.

The next meeting is set for Wednesday, February 26 from 11-1 at 1057 W Fireweed, suite 100.

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