Land Use Committee rescinds voting eligibility requirement
By Marc Donadieu
Turnagain Times Correspondent
During last month’s GBOS meeting Brian Burnett informed supervisors about the recent Land Use Committee decision to eliminate voting requirements. Just four months ago, on April 14, the LUC decided that for voters to be eligible they must attend one LUC meeting a year.
“It has now been clarified,” Burnett said. “When you are at the meeting you are eligible to vote without any restrictions, provided you meet the other criteria.” To vote at a LUC meeting, one must be either a Girdwood resident for 90 days, a Girdwood property owner or own a business or non-profit in Girdwood.
Why did the LUC reverse its decision after four months? Burnett explained the two reasons behind the LUC voting requirement change. “The one meeting in a year presented some challenges for record keeping and whatnot,” he said, “and it was such a low bar to meet.”
Next, Burnett presented a Trails Committee update. “We’re going to recommend a SAGA budget again for next year for around $22,000,” he said. SAGA is the Southeast Alaska Guidance Association, which collaborates with AmeriCorps to provide young adults hands-on learning and work experience. In Girdwood, SAGA clears brush on the trails to keep them accessible for residents and visitors.
“That brushing money was definitely well spent,” he continued, “and folks got out and used the trails when they were all nice and clear.”
The issue of routine upkeep of the hand tram on the Winner Creek Trail was also addressed. “The hand tram,” Burnett said, “has been extremely busy this summer. There is a little bit of maintenance to be done out there. We have some cable tensioning and rope tensioning to do out there. We’ve got to get some mortar into some of the concrete joints on the structure, and brush away some of the organic debris around the base of the tower.”
Burnett also indicated plans to create a kiosk near the hand tram. “We’re going to be working on using some of the last of our RAC money [a $50,000 grant from the U.S. Forest Service Resource Advisory Committee] available to create a kiosk in each of the hand tram terminals, something that we can get a valley-wide map on and some instructions for responsible use of the hand tram.”
Following Burnett, Frans Weits provided an update on Tennis Court Committee developments. “The weather has been a little rough to play,” said Weits, “but what was encouraging was the volunteers who power-washed this summer and took off 20 years worth of slime. It has really made the surface playable again. If you’re adventurous, you can still get out there and have a good game.”
Weits said that he hopes to have Parks and Recreation approve funding to have the tennis courts resurfaced next spring. “We’re kind of in a holding pattern right now,” he said, “because there has been a soil test done, and another estimate by the Boutet Engineering Company.”
At Weits’ request, Bob Dugan, geologist for Golder Associates and LUC member, gave his evaluation of the soil test and estimate. The court was tested in four places, he said, including the two depressions that collect water. These sections were determined to have soft soil that should have been removed decades ago when the courts were first constructed. “It was not properly handled the first time around when they reconstructed it,” Dugan said.
The pavement was also thicker than expected due to resurfacing over the years, which raises the cost of removal. However, analysis of the soil test results yielded a financial benefit with the Boutet Company reducing the cost estimate due to the new information. “They took a quick look at the report and they came back with a very quick reassessment, and they said it would be less by $2,700. But I’m not sure if they’re done with the estimate.”
Regarding the process of an anticipated court resurfacing next spring, Dugan said, “They strip the pavement off, they can probe it, and they can remove the areas that are bad. They can pack new material in there to bring it up. Overall it will be a much more effective court and last longer.”
Kyle Kelley, Girdwood’s Municipal Liaison, explained what the next step is in the process of getting the tennis courts resurfaced. “The further step is to look at how we can take the cost estimate,” he said, “and put it into a design/build method. What that does is it eliminates having to hire engineers to do design. It’s very common in a project like this to get the contractor to bid for both of them, and they do the design/build. It typically may bring down the cost by 20 percent.”
“One reason the price was still high,” said Kelly, “is that there are 8 inches of asphalt across the court, so all that material we thought we could save by not having to haul in, is now being picked up because it has to be hauled out and taken in for recycling. Previous resurfacing involved putting another layer of asphalt on the surface, which created the 8-inch layer instead of the standard of 2 inches for tennis courts.”