People will have a chance to provide input on a replacement vessel for the ferry Tustumena. Tuesday night the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities will hold an open meeting at the Kodiak Public Library to give folks an opportunity to add their voice to the department’s replacement process and hear what plans are already in the works for a new ferry.
Much needed repairs to the Tustumena last year kept the vessel out of the water for months on end and left many places in south central Alaska with reduced or no ferry service. That ordeal reemphasized to the state the need for a new ferry. While a new vessel is still a few years out, the final design is scheduled to be completed by summer 2015.
Tuesday’s meeting will begin at 5 p.m. at the library’s multipurpose room and is open to the public.
Next winter folks will have to pay a small fee to use the ice rink at Baranof Park. That was one of a handful of fee changes and additions the Kodiak City Council discussed during its regular meeting last week. City Manager Aimee Kniaziowski said the fee will be similar, if not identical, to what people are charged at the swimming pool meaning $1-$2 depending on someone’s age.
Kniaziowski said the rink is a very labor intensive facility that the city has to operate, and the suggested fees will help cover its operating costs.
Another fee heading to the city this year is what Kniaziowski called a “visitor card” for the public library.
“Which would be you know, someone who doesn’t live here who would like access to the library, it would be a $10 fee for that.”
She said the rates for the use of the library’s multipurpose room will be increasing to offset costs of wear and tear in the new building.
The city council held a public hearing on the proposed fee changes during the regular meeting. While no one commented on the fees that were being suggested, Judi Kidder did suggest adding another to the list. She said some sort of enforcement fee in the community might help off set the cost of having to remove junk items from public property.
“I think it’s a very important thing in light of the trash being dumped out in the community.”
The council voted unanimously in favor of the fee changes.
Last week the Kodiak Public Library Association held their annual meeting, the first one since the new public library opened in December. Association Chair Kaia Henrickson said the meeting included some changes to the association’s board of directors, including the election of four new members.
“Barbara Anthony, Jan Chatto, Michelle Griffin and Chastity Starrett to replace three members who were resigning and then one member, Erin Harrington, who had termed off the board. So she’s been on the board for two consecutive three year terms and according to our by laws you have to take a break before you can be on the board anymore.”
Henrickson said it’s actually a perfect time for the organization to bring in some new faces.
“Because we are changing the focus of the organization to become more of a friends of the library group again and looking for new ideas and new energy to continue some of the things we had been doing like book swaps and events for the new library and coming up with some new ideas. So we’re very excited to have these four great new people joining the board and bringing their experience and new thoughts and some new energy to take things into the next phase of KPLA.”
Henrickson said this past year was a big one for KPLA, with the biggest moment being the opening of the new Kodiak Public Library. She said the organization also wrapped up its capital campaign for that project, and surpassed its goal of $750,000. All total she said they raised almost $780,000, with some of that being in kind services and art donations.
Visitors to the new Kodiak Public Library can look forward to a better view these days. One of the two AT&T satellite dishes blocking the beautiful view of Chiniak Bay in front of the library was removed recently, the result of a deal between the city of Kodiak and the telecommunications company.
City Manager Aimee Kniaziowski said the city council approved an agreement with AT&T back in October that authorized the city to cover the cost of removing the inactive satellite dish.
“Which is if you’re in the library, looking out the main windows there it would be the one on the left.”
Kniaziowski said there was some delay in the removal because the company was busy with tower repairs on the mainland, but she received word this week that the dish was removed.
“They are good to their word. They dismantled it and will be responsible for disposing of it, the materials. And then they’ll bill the city for up to $45,000 for their crew’s time and any other related expenses.”
One dish still remains in that area, which is AT&T property, and Kniaziowski said there have been discussions about removing that one as well.
“They haven’t come to any fruition at this point because that is a back up dish it’s active in the sense that they need it and of course it’s on their property and where they would relocate it and the expenses associated with rewiring and relocating apparently are pretty substantial. So we never were able to finalize that.”
She said coming to an agreement will definitely take some time, but she believes the discussions will continue in the months ahead.
The first item on the Kodiak City Council’s work session agenda this week is a fitting one, considering where the council will be meeting. Tonight the council will gather in the multi-purpose room at the Kodiak Public Library and hear an update on the Kodiak Public Library Association’s capital campaign.
The city will also review its prioritized federal capital improvements program list, which is essentially the city’s wish list of projects it hopes to get federal funding for.
In another timely discussion, especially considering yesterday’s snowfall, the city will talk about the preliminary design of a snow dump storage yard. Last year the state told the city that it can no longer dump snow removed from city streets into the harbor, as it had done in years past. That prompted the search for a site that could store snow throughout the winter.
Tonight’s work session starts at 7:30 p.m. in the multi-purpose room of the Kodiak Public Library, across the street from the borough building on signal hill.
It was a moment almost seven years in the making. Yesterday morning the new Kodiak Public Library opened its doors to eager book worms and began its first day of regular operations at the new location on Signal Hill. Director Katie Baxter said the wave of visitors throughout the day was steady, which was nice after an eventful grand opening celebration on Monday night.
“The grand opening at the library was just a terrific celebration. It was well attended and everyone came into the building with, I think a sense of expectation, and yet when they walked through their expectations were just blown out of the water. Because everyone’s jaw just dropped when they walked into the lobby and really got a sense of place. I think they had not even imagined just how beautiful the building is.”
Baxter estimated that there were more than 400 attendees of Monday’s grand opening. She said the line was out the door, around the block and back toward the high school. Yesterday’s opening to the public also went well, and she said she was pleased with the number of visitors.
“Oh it’s so nice people are coming in with cameras and families, little ones exploring the children’s room and people are certainly coming in to do their work, their business. It’s been a nice flow of people. Folks are able to come in and take their time and do what they need to do. So the staff is having a great time seeing everyone and helping folks.”)
The new library is open from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturdays. It will be open between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Sundays.