The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

Editor, Valdez Star 

Land purchase for new infrastructure up for discussion by city council

Tract of 16 acres would allow for more storage and possibly new fire house


Source: City of Valdez

An aerial snapshot of the land in question.

Does the city need a new fire house? More storage? More land?

That is the question the Valdez City Council was tasked to discuss Tuesday night after the Valdez Star went to press.

City administration has had its eye on a nearly 15-acre tract of land the fronts Egan Drive near the Richardson Highway and runs parallel to Meals Ave., with access from E. Chena and E. Dadina streets.

It was recently appraised at a value of $975,000 by Clint Lentfer of the Alaska Appraisal & Consulting Group.

City administration has pinpointed the acreage as an accessible location for snow storage in town, expansion of city storage facilities and a possible location for a hoped-for new fire station.

The land, owned by Gavora, Inc., has been on the market for three years with a listing price of $1.3 million according to the report, which states that the asking price is above market value. The report also indicates that there has only been one credible offer on the property, which was below the asking price and was rejected by the property's current owners.

For its part, council has been reluctant to commit to building a new fire station, but has acknowledged that the older section of city hall is in need of serious remediation and that at the current size and site, a number of city departments are overly cramped and in need of more space to keep pace with the work load.

Earlier this month, council and administration held a work session to address the need for more space within the city's departments and looked at temporarily moving a number of city departments to empty offices the city owns at the airport.

Council had rejected an earlier proposal to temporarily move some city offices to rented space in the Day building to keep city functions closer to town and to allow for more space while emptying the old portion of city hall that is in need of mold remediation.

An assessment - and then a decision - will need to be conducted to determine whether or not it would be less expensive to renovate and remediate the problems with the older section of city hall or to tear it down and rebuild on the available space.

Source: City of Valdez

Appraiser's view of the property administration hopes to add to the city's land portfolio.

Council indicated during the special meeting held earlier this month that it would leave the decisions up to city administration regarding which departments would be temporarily relocated.

The plan, as spelled out by city manager Dennis Ragsdale, called for Finance, Human Resources and Community and Economic Development and possibly the assistant city manager and Ports departments to move to the city-owned airport buildings.

The Valdez Museum and Historic Archives is also in the process of accessing its need for space and possibly a new location.

The current museum is located on Egan Dr. but also maintains an annex on Hazelet in the old city-owned warehouse that the city has hoped to tear down in its beautification efforts.


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