Mayor Ward comments on Capital Improvement Program, asks for public feedback

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska. (KTVF) The Fairbanks North Star Borough is moving forward with the Capital Improvement program (CIP) and the administration is looking for the public’s feedback.

Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Bryce Ward commented on the Capital Improvement Program and where the process is now. (Sara Tewksbury/KTVF)

The CIP is going through a new process that Mayor Bryce Ward’s administration created to try to chip away at deferred maintenance throughout the borough. “The new process that we put in place for the Capital Improvement Program is we have nominations, then there’s this resolution that I brought forward to the assembly, which is where we actually approve the projects. So this is just the ideas or the concepts. Then from here, the next phase or the next step of this process is the assembly has to approve the resolution. Once they approve the resolution it comes back for scoring, and then we actually look at placing these projects in a ten year timeline of when we expect them to actually be completed,” said Ward.

Ward says the public can expect the final product sometime in February.

Currently the borough is accepting public comment and asking residents to read over the projects to prepare for the public hearing to be held on January 16, 2020 in the Borough Assembly meeting in assembly chambers at 907 Terminal Street. “We’ve got some folks that kind of were a little bit concerned about the original size of some of the projects and how they fit in this concept of deferred maintenance versus adding new facilities, [or] new projects. So we’ve heard concern about the size of it, but we’ve also heard folks that have provided feedback on the thoughtfulness. So we really wanted to make sure we’re looking at the overall needs of the community, looking at the infrastructure requirements we have to provide the services we currently do provide, and how can we find efficiencies with those systems when we look at recapitalization. So what that generally means is bringing facilities in together instead of having lots of smaller individual facilities. The single facility [would] combine uses under a single roof,” said Ward.

One proposed project that would be a combined facility is the North Star Athletics Complex. It would build off the Big Dipper complex to create a single complex addressing the needs of the Hamme and Mary Siah Pool functions, The complex also may include indoor field sports, indoor playgrounds, a skate park, privately available party space, concession space, physical therapy and child care. The multi-year phased project is expected to be $107,000,000.

“The really important part about this whole process right now that the community understands the projects that we’re looking at, is comfortable with them, and encourages us to move forward. So if there are things we expect to see short term in the next two years, long term in the next ten years, we need to get them in this program. Even if there are some things in there that we do not have the resources to do completely at this time, it provides us the ability to leverage other resources to be able to get some of those wants done through the CIP process,” said Ward.

Ward says the closure of the Centennial Center at Pioneer Park is an example of some of the borough buildings with deferred maintenance issues. “Many of these pieces of infrastructure are well beyond what they were maybe designed for. I think the Centennial Building is one of those that meets that description. So we’re looking at what we can do as a community to understand what those challenges may be, and then make a decision on what you repair and what you replace, and how you do that in a thoughtful way,” said Ward.

To view the nominations and the resolution of proposed projects:

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