Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson has until Friday to finalize a deal to buy a former Alaska Club building in midtown – a deal made by former incumbent Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson to provide more homeless shelters before winter create.
However, Bronson’s administration notes that the new mayor is unlikely to go ahead with the deal with the Alaska Club as planned.
“We’re not inclined to continue with the Alaska Club right now,” said Craig Campbell, whom Bronson has selected as his Chief of Staff said members of the congregation during a committee meeting on housing and homelessness on Tuesday. âBut we haven’t said ‘no’ yet. We want to evaluate that a little more precisely in comparison to what we offer with our solution. “
Quinn-Davidson announced in May that the city had signed a $ 5.436 million purchase agreement for the former Alaska Club building on Tudor Road in Midtown, which it would convert into a 125-bed emergency shelter and resource center for people to use Wanted to convert homelessness. But the incumbent mayor left it to the newly elected Bronson, who took office on July 1, to implement the plan. The deadline for entries is July 9th.
At Tuesday’s meeting, members of the Bronson government said they will seek about $ 15.3 million to buy and build their own proposed animal shelter, a single large homeless shelter and navigation center in East Anchorage for about 400 people with a capacity of up to 1,000. Additional costs, such as the cost of operating the shelter to a provider, are still being determined, it said.
City officials say they need to increase the capacity of homeless shelters in Anchorage as another deadline comes to dismantle the current 400-person mass housing at Sullivan Arena by the end of September.
Bronson said in an interview Tuesday that even if his government pulls through the purchase of the former Alaska Club, he is not considering it as an option for a shelter.
Still, he said he was open to creating more homeless and treatment services in the Midtown neighborhood.
âWe’re not looking for somewhere people can come and go like they do at Sullivan Arena,â Bronson said. â… In the course of time, when we can use something in Midtown who offers therapy and people receive permanent full-time therapy? Yes this is good.”
Outside the deadline, some congregation members, community leaders, and the general public fear that Bronson’s proposed project will not be completed in time and that the Alaska Club may come up with a viable secondary plan in the meantime.
Others have asked why the government is not pursuing both options – buying the Alaska Club building and downsizing the proposed East Anchorage shelter.
Renovations to the former Alaska Club building could be completed between October 16 and October 30 if commenced by the July 9 deadline, according to an email dated June 24 from Alaska Club CEO Robert Brewster City officials.
“This project is ready to be shoveled with all of the design work completed, vendors selected, and bids received,” wrote Brewster.
However, Bronson and his administration say their proposal would be a faster solution.
“It’s actually faster to build than renovate,” said Dr. John Morris, Bronson’s homeless coordinator, in an interview on Tuesday.
“Even if we started in a week, we could still build the structure faster, with greater capacity, and at a cheaper price for the size,” he said, referring to the estimated mid-October completion date for the Alaska Club building .
Bronson said his proposal could be expanded quickly as more people need shelter in the winter.
âPeople will be cold. It’s that simple, âhe said.
During the winter, up to 800 people could need shelter every day, he said.
âThat is a moral imperative. We have to deal with that. And we really seek the support of the congregation to support us in this and to do so with us, âBronson said.
Morris told the gathering Tuesday that the administration will be soliciting approximately $ 15.3 million to purchase and build the proposed shelter, which is a dome-like fabric tent structure believed to be made by Sprung Structures.
That includes $ 5.3 million to build and ship the structure, and about $ 10 million to build, Morris said.
The administration suggests that the money comes from a project to clean up dead trees that have been killed by spruce beetles, from the city’s fleet for maintenance and operations, and from the city’s general fund balance.
That fund still contains millions of unspent CARES aid funds that the city used last summer to purchase three buildings for homelessness and treatment services, including the former Alaska Club. So far none have been bought.
To build the structure in the proposed location on Tudor and Elmore Streets, the city would have to relocate the Anchorage Police Department’s secure dump, which houses numerous evidential vehicles in ongoing cases. That would mean More than 500 vehicles moved to a new facility.
Anchorage Police Chief Ken McCoy sent members of the congregation an unofficial estimate of $ 4 million to complete the task, based on APD’s experience building and equipping its current facility, he wrote in Monday an email.
Morris told the gathering Tuesday that he believes it will be “a fraction of that cost” to move the vehicles, and that that cost is included in the $ 10 million construction estimate.
The Bronson administration intends to ask for money from the gathering at its next session on July 13, Campbell said Tuesday.
However, many details of the proposal remain unanswered, such as who would run the shelter, what services would be provided, how the city would pay for them, and how much it would cost.
“I think we got more answers, but we need more details,” said MP Meg Zaletel, Chair of the Housing and Homelessness Committee, after Tuesday’s meeting.
“I hope that as we investigate this plan further, we will not take the Alaska Club option because it is something that is prepared,” she said.
It may not fully meet the city’s needs, but it will “take us a long way to get there,” said Zaletel, in addition to the other Anchorage accommodations.
“But that Plan B question today was really about what is the other option?” She said. “We need to have Plan B if we don’t get on with it, because we have a duty to provide accommodation.”
Morris told the gathering that many of these questions cannot be answered without first directing a request to social service providers who may be interested in running the proposed property.
He said he anticipates the shelter will cost less than about $ 1.6 million per month to operate, the amount currently being spent between the existing mass care facility and non-collective shelter programs.
“I would expect it to be around $ 12 million a year,” he said. “But I don’t have any good data to back this up, as we have not yet carried out any tenders or offers for services.”