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Borough will bid on Papke's Land


The Assembly voted 5-1 to bid on land at Papke’s Landing in the winter auction of the Mental Health Trust Land Office.

Assembly member Nancy Strand was the sole vote against the resolution.

“I can’t support the Borough getting involved in anything at Papke’s Landing until Papke’s Landing is in a Service Area,” Strand said. “We shouldn’t have asked ‘should we acquire these three lots?’ I think we should have asked ‘how much do you want your taxes to go up so we can acquire these three lots?’”

Mayor Mark Jensen said he had some concerns about the borough’s possible acquisition of the land given the unknown of the borough’s northern boundary and the Alaska Department of Transportation’s ability to contribute financially to the repair of the dock at Papke’s, but his vote in support of the resolution came after hearing from so many residents who were in favor of the land purchase.

Some 13 parties submitted public comment on the matter, with 11 expressing their approval of the Borough acquiring land at Papke’s. Proponents cited the importance of Papke’s as an access point to town for those living down the Narrows as well as tourists visiting lodges and recreational boaters. Many also cited the need for an entity to address parking issues at the nearby dock and the possible importance of the area to meet the Borough’s future harbor needs.

Opponents cited the disrepair of current infrastructure and the bureaucratic mess resulting from the number of public agencies owning land and components at Papke’s.

Assembly member Jeigh Stanton Gregor said, “I think this is a place all members of the community use and enjoy, similarly to Banana Point.” He added that bidding on the land was an important first step for the borough.

“I see this as the least expensive step for the long-term vision of Papke’s Landing,” he said.

The Assembly adjourned to executive session following the regular meeting to discuss which of seven available lots the Borough should bid on and to determine the amount to bid for each. Because it is a sealed bid auction, that information will not be released publicly at this time.

In an August 2014 letter to the Mental Health Trust, the Assembly asked for the suspension of the sale of lots 5, 6 and 7, the lots closest to the dock and parking area. The minimum bids for the lots are $35,000 each for lots 5 and 6 and $40,000 for lot 7, according to the Alaska Mental Health Trust webpage for the sale.

The bid period closes March 20 and notification of land sale awards will be sent to apparent high bidders within a week of the bid opening, which takes place March 25.


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