Multi-sport pavilion at East High delayed
A plan to build a pavilion over tennis courts at East High School has been delayed.
A proposal was made to grant $800,000 to the Alliance for the Support of American Legion Baseball to complete the project within 16 months. But Assemblyman Bill Starr says this idea doesn’t have the full support of the Anchorage Assembly.
“The idea that the Alliance can come in and do it all I think was a bit premature,” Starr said on Tuesday night.
One of Starr’s concerns is that it’s a large of amount of money being given to an outside agency and he worries about who has control.
Starr says he will introduce a new ordinance that will deal with some of the concerns, including how much involvement the Anchorage School District will have. He also indicated that more work needs to be done to make sure the facility will be multi-use.
“I want it to be not just about tennis, I think the multi purpose facilities do in fact work well — indoor soccer, indoor running clubs, dog training, an indoor arena,” Starr said.
Starr would like the Anchorage Community Development Authority to have more of a role in deciding who will operate the facility, set the rates and programs. The ACDA awarded the grant to the Alliance in May.
Another big issue in front of the Assembly relates to building codes. The Anchorage Economic Development Corporation is supporting a proposal, AO 2015-59, to suspend part of Title 21 and amend it.
“A suspension of the design code so that it can be worked on, readdressed, tested, making sure that it’s not creating the complications that developers tell us it is creating now, and then re-establishing it back into the code,” said AEDC President and CEO Bill Popp.
The AEDC says many builders, employers, subsidized housing developers, realtors, aren’t investing in Anchorage at the desired rate in part because of the costly restrictions on developing apartment buildings and other higher-density housing.
“We are seeing numbers that tell us that only 400 units of new housing are being added to the Anchorage inventory every year for the last several years – that’s about half of what we should be building given the size of our population and the expected growth,” Popp said. “That’s why housing is so expensive.”
Public testimony was heard Tuesday night on AO 2015-59 and was continued until the next Assembly meeting.
Fire mitigation grant
Tuesday night the Assembly approved nearly $250,000 for the Anchorage Fire Department’s fire mitigation program. AFD’s Forester John See says the money will be used by the fire department for home inspections, public service announcements and reimbursement of mitigation costs to homeowners.
“We have at least 60 homeowners that have applied for home inspections and I expect once we get started there will be many more that ask for the home inspections,” See said.
Homeowners can be reimbursed up to 50 percent of the cost of thinning and removing trees from their property.
“Usually for most homeowners it’s the tipping point where people can afford to do this mitigation work to help their home to be better prepared for the wildfire disaster,” said See, adding that Anchorage residents need to be aware of the risk of wildfire, especially near the Hillside and in Eagle River.