It looks like the Petersburg borough will be purchasing some land at Papke’s Landing, about 10 miles south of town.

The Alaska Mental Health Trust Land Office on Wednesday opened bids for its 2014 statewide winter land sale, including seven parcels in what the trust calls the Sea Duck subdivision at Papke’s Landing. Those seven parcels total just over three and a half acres just uphill from the public boat launch ramp and dock.
The borough was the only bidder on three of the seven parcels, lots one, two and seven. Those three lots, totalling an acre and a half, are on the northern end of the subdivision next to the road leading down to the parking area and boat ramp.

“I know the community had spoken out for the most part in favor of the borough getting those lots and the assembly as well and it appears at this point anyway that we got all three.,” said borough manager Steve Giesbrecht.

Petersburg is the sole bidder on the three uppermost parcels toward the top of this image. (Image from the Alaska Mental Health Trust Land Office).

Petersburg is the sole bidder on the three uppermost parcels toward the top of this image. (Image from the Alaska Mental Health Trust Land Office).

Area residents supported the purchase saying the public launch and dock were heavily used by commercial and sport fishermen, lodges and home owners boating to their remote property. Borough assembly members also expressed interest in buying the land for parking if the municipality winds up taking over the launch ramp or dock from the state.

“You know I think it was recognized that it gets pretty tight down there and having enough room to be able to not just do parking but also a driveway process that makes some sense,” Giesbrecht explained. “You know room for people to pull in, put a boat in the water, pull through with a trailer and then park, I think was pretty important to the borough assembly.”

The combined minimum bid on the three lots was 94,000 dollars. The borough’s winning bids total just over 108,000 dollars. Private individuals bid on two of the lots on the southern end of the subdivision, next to existing homes and two of the parcels in the middle of the subdivision received no interest.

The Trust Land office was anticipating multiple bids on the Sea Duck parcels and had planned to hold an over-the-phone live auction with the top three bidders for each lot on Friday. Since there were no competing bids, that live auction is not needed.

The borough assembly will still need to vote on spending the money for the purchase. Giesbrecht said the next steps will be to see if the Department of Transportation and Department of Natural Resources are still interest in transferring the dock and boat ramp to the borough, and figuring out if that makes financial sense for the local government.

If the sale goes through, the Papke’s parcels will be the first land owned by the Petersburg borough outside of the old Petersburg city limits. The municipal government also owns some improvements at the gun range on Mitkof Highway and has an easement right at the Blaquiere Point boat ramp on southern Mitkof Island.

At some point, the borough also expects to select some additional land from the state as part of the borough formation process.