Local News

Petersburg borough supports new electoral map

Petersburg’s borough assembly this week made it official – the borough is supporting the electoral map adopted by the Alaska Redistricting Board on Sunday.

Petersburg challenged the interim plan in place for the 2012 election that put the community in house and senate districts with Juneau. The state’s supreme court called for a new permanent redistricting plan for the 2014 election. The board Sunday chose a configuration for Southeast that puts Petersburg in a house district with Sitka and 22 other small Southeast communities, including Kupreanof, Kake, Angoon, Craig, Coffman Cove, Port Protection and Point Baker.

Petersburg’s borough assembly Monday authorized the borough’s attorney on the case to file a court notice that the latest plan is acceptable. Assembly members had no discussion on the issue during the meeting Monday night.

However, during a radio call in show that day, assembly members John Havrilek said he liked the new plan. “It was better than I expected to get,” Havrilek said. “And it’s more common communities, I think we’re gonna do pretty well. Although I was really impressed with the people we had now, in the Juneau representation. They seemed very sincere and very earnest. I had faith that they’d do a good job but I just think it’ll just be better where we’re going.”

Borough staff members also recommended supporting the new plan and said it creates compact house districts and combines communities with similar social and economic interests. Monday’s assembly vote was unanimous to file that notice with the court.

In other action Monday, the borough assembly approved a contract to refinish the floor at Petersburg’s community gym. That work will go to Alaskan Industries of Wasilla for over 32-thousand dollars. The refinishing work will happen in August. The Rasmuson Foundation has provided a grant of $13,000 dollars for the floor and the remainder will be paid by the borough.

The assembly also approved spending over 25-thousand dollars for MRV Architects of Juneau to do a structural and mechanical analysis of two possible buildings for a new police station. The architectural firm will look at the municipal building and the Reid warehouse in Scow Bay for potential to house a new or renovated police station and jail.

The assembly heard an update on the installation of a new sculpture at the Buschmann Park on main street next to the municipal building. The Petersburg Arts Council’s Suzanne Ashe noted the city council approved use of the land in the park in 2010 and the over 17,000 dollars in transient room tax money has been granted for the sculpture installation and park expansion. “This is a long time, long time project that, you folks at the time, or the then city voted for and TRT has given a lot of money to and a lot of folks have given a lot of money to and a lot of heart has gone into this project. And I just wanna see it though,” Ashe said.

The sculpture of a boy fishing, is called “Everything starts with a dream” and was created by local artist Eric Larson. It will be sent to Montana to be bronzed. Ashe said they hoped to have a dedication of the new sculpture next spring.

The assembly also honored local high school student P.K. Bunyi for producing a new yellow cedar sign that is now hanging in borough assembly chambers. Acting mayor Sue Flint gave Bunyi a certificate of appreciation for the work. “PK made the sign in shop class using new design equipment furnished by a grant from the US Forest Service. This coming school year, the shop class will be making several non-wood signs for the borough and the forest service using the new equipment. The borough paid for materials of yellow cedar for the sign and made a donation to the shop class,” Flint said.

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