Chad Wright is PIA’s Tribal Administrator. He started the job in February 2022. (Photo by Angela Denning/KFSK)

Petersburg Indian Association’s new tribal administrator has been on the job for two and a half months now. Chad Wright says his new role has been a challenge but a welcome one.

He says he’s still learning about all the things that the tribe does in Petersburg including some of the on-going projects.

He stopped into KFSK and spoke with Angela Denning about some of them.

Wright: There are a lot of projects that are in the works right now. One of those is the City Creek Trail. So that’s in preliminary design, which is the surveying stage. That trail is going to be approximately one mile long with three quarters of the trail to be reconstructed. So it’s going to consist of gravel, boardwalk, and also be handicap accessible.

Denning: So what we’re talking about is that trail near Sandy Beach where the tribe has already done that first section.

Wright: Correct.

Denning: And so is it going to be kind of similar where it keeps going?

Wright; Yeah, like I said, they’re still doing the design phase right now. But the idea in the end is to go all the way to a City Creek.

Denning: That trail seems to be very, highly used.

Wright: Yeah, for sure. So we’ll be finished with permitting and design this year and then construction next year, is the plan for that. So that’s one of the projects we have going on. And then the Eagle Roost stairway replacement. So PIA was asked by Parks and Rec if PIA could help with that project. So PIA entered into the agreement with the borough, so we’re providing design and construction for that project. And that is funded with the tribal transportation program. So the initial thoughts are that that’s going to be a wooden stairway, about 60 feet in length, but that could change. Again, design will be this winter, construction next year, 2023.

Denning: Okay, so Eagle Roost stairs getting fixed next summer. Another popular area for a lot downtown folks. The transportation part of PIA, to me, has always seemed to be pretty robust, like, there’s always trail projects happening, that kind of thing.

Wright: Yeah, there’s a lot going on. It is a bustling department, for sure. So yeah, we get lots of funding to do lots of projects.

Denning: Anything else that you wanted to highlight with the tribe?

Wright: One other project that we’re working on as the Manor boardwalk. So we’ve been working on that, Jack started on that last year?

Denning:  Jack who?

Wright: Galaktionoff. He’s working on that project again, and estimated completion date of the end of August of 2022.

Denning: So, that’s a construction project happening this summer. And you’re talking about kind of over by the Hammer and Wikan Grocery, Manor area.

Wright:  Yeah, connect over to the muskeg boardwalk. So again, it’s just Jack working on that project all by himself, so one man show. And then one other project that’s on the horizon is housing related. Thanks to Tlingit and Haida Regional Housing Authority, we’re going to have an opportunity to build another duplex, similar to the one that was completed last year on the corner of eighth and Ira. So either a duplex or possibly a triplex. We’re currently looking for land to build on so if anyone has land for sale, let me know.

Denning: And that would be for tribal members?

Wright: Tribal members, correct.

Denning: Okay, because that’s kind of an issue in Petersburg, affordable housing.

Wright:  Yeah, and housing was one of the priorities that was identified in PIA’s strategic plan. So, that will help address that.

Denning: Is that kind of like a rental situation? Is that income for the tribe?

Wright: It is yes. It’s both, it’s rental and it’s income, so yeah.

Denning: Okay. Anything else that you wanted to touch on, Chad?

Wright: Just one other program that we offer, the transit van, just a reminder that’s for seniors 60 years of age and above and those with disabilities. And we recently expanded our route. So before we were ending at Scow Bay and now we’ve expanded that service to Beachcomber.

Denning: Out the road a little bit further to connect with more people.

Wright: Exactly.

Denning: Well, thanks so much for letting us know what’s going on with the tribe.

Wright: Thank you, appreciate the opportunity.