Downtown Improvements Committee wants more community involvement
Touring parts of downtown Anchorage Monday, members of the Downtown Improvements Committee pointed out what areas they wanted to see changed.
“We see some disruptive areas, you know,” Sylvia Villamides said during the walk. “But there’s some areas, you see how people care. They’re taking care of their little lot. Their little place that belongs to them.”
Villamides said certain blocks have businesses with owners keeping the area clean, constantly picking up garbage. That type of proactive community is what the committee is hoping to see. Chair of the committee Russ Reno said it’s why they organized the walk.
“It’s to start getting the community involved and recognizing areas of downtown that might need some improvement,” Reno said.
Dennis Lavey is a business owner downtown and described it as being “left behind.”
“I’ve been down here 40 years,” he said. “Not much has changed.”
He said in certain areas downtown, there is a lot of homeless activity. However, he said certain homes and businesses have created a welcoming sight with flowers and landscaping.
Larry Michael, who owns a bed and breakfast downtown, was also on the walk.
“If more people do their own individual projects to improve and revitalize, slowly but surely, then things can happen,” he said.
Reno said what he hopes can happen as they start identifying areas of improvement, is that all of downtown can take part in the revitalization process.
“If I do see something where it needs improvement in my area, it’s important we look at the city as a whole, rather than just an exact area,” he said.
During the Downtown Community Council meeting, members went through the Community Council Surveys and outlined their top priorities for capital projects, which include: improved downtown lighting and signals, upgrading the access road to the small boat harbor and infrastructure improvements between C and I Streets, as well as 4th and 7th Avenues.