Hillside opposition tanks Proposition 7, but still no solution for problem it aimed to solve
Proposition 7, which would have greatly expanded the Anchorage Parks and Recreation service area, failed, according to unofficial election results released Friday. In order to pass, the ballot measure had to receive the majority of votes in both the current and proposed park service areas.
It passed in the current service area — which includes nearly all of the Anchorage Bowl except Stuckagain Heights — by a 10-point margin. However, it failed in the proposed area, which includes the Hillside and Bear Valley. Fifty-eight percent of voters there opposed the proposition.
“I appreciate the setup of this election in particular because it gave everyone a voice,” said Scott Ingrim, who lives in Bear Valley. “It gave greater Anchorage a voice. But it gave us up here – the people that live up here – a voice, as well.”
Supporters of the proposition said it would have alleviated traffic and trespassing issues for places like Bear Valley, where the Golden View trailhead becomes congested with illegally parked cars during the summer.
Assembly member John Weddleton led the effort in support of the proposition. He said the measure was the most realistic way to fix the issue.
“It was not unexpected that it would fail. It was the best option to solve problems in the area,” Weddleton said in a phone interview. “So the problems remain, and they’ll get worse. We’ll just have to try to figure out some second-best options.”
Angie Pinsonneault, who has lived in Bear Valley for 10 years with Ingrim, said while most trail users do not cause problems, others leave behind litter and drug paraphernalia.
“It’s not the 95 percent of people that want to come up to access trails. It’s the 5 percent of people that have other intentions,” she said.
The proposition would have started taxing people in the new service area for parks and recreation services. Homeowners would pay approximately $50 for every $100,000 in home value. Pinsonneault said because there was not an obvious strategy to fix the issue, the proposition did not make sense.
“There was no clear plan for how the problems that we’re already encountering would be addressed by Proposition 7,” Pinsonneault said.
John Rodda, the director of the Anchorage Parks and Recreation Department, said the city would have been better off if the measure had passed.
“I had hopes that we would have the full unified service area, but that’s not the result and we’ll figure out how to get around [that] and work with people,” he said over the phone Friday.
All municipal election results will be verified Tuesday, April 18.
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