Welcome to Issue IX of Girdwood Inc’s newsletter. Below you will find summaries and short updates regarding many Girdwood-related topics.
Champion: Terry Sherwood
Terry is a local Girdwood resident of 22 years. She has raised 3 children and is an active participant at Girdwood Chapel. Terry is a retired school teacher, teaching in Anchorage for 17 years and an additional 5 years at Girdwood School. After retiring, Terry worked for Alyeska Ski Club for 8 years.
A key focus for Terry over the past few years has been volunteering for the Girdwood Food Pantry at the chapel. In this role, she has helped to feed many individuals and families struggling to put food on the table. During the pandemic, Terry and the Girdwood Food Pantry helped to feed up to 300 individuals per month. In 2023, these numbers have leveled out and consistently around 175 people, which are supplied with food 3-4 times per month.
Terry enjoys going for hikes, skiing, camping and spending time with family. She does the events timing for Town League and Masters at Alyeska Resort and does seasonal work for Chugach Adventures and Slack Tide Gallery. Girdwood is lucky to have such a dedicated volunteer and community member in Terry Sherwood!
It appears Holtan Hills is being put back on the table in the next few months. At the Anchorage Assembly May 9th meeting, Assembly Resolution 2023-165 passed in the consent agenda. This resolution reappropriates $30,000 from the Real Estate Department, Heritage Land Bank Fund and $30,000 from Assembly Area Wide General Fund, for a total of $60,000, to fund a real estate consultant for Holtan Hills.
Meg Zalatel was the sponsor of the Resolution, co-sponsored with Mayor Bronson. Ms. Zalatel stated that she does not expect the item to come before the assembly until she is back from her leave. Public notice was given that she will be taking medical leave from the Anchorage Assembly May 24 – July 11.
Click to read: Resolution No. AR 2023-165, A Resolution of the Municipality of Anchorage reappropriating a total of $60,000 from Real Estate Department, Heritage Land Bank Fund (221000) and Assembly, Areawide General Fund (101000), all to the Real Estate Department, within respective funds, for a Real Estate Consultant for Holtan Hills, Assembly Vice Chair Zaletel and Mayor Bronson. (Addendum.)
HLB Work Plan:
A substantial amount of land held within the Heritage Land Bank is situated in Girdwood. Traditionally, work plans were adopted on an annual basis, but the last adopted work program passed Heritage Land Bank Advisory Committee and Assembly in 2021. Heritage Land Bank has advertised the 45-day public review process on their website. Public comment is currently open and closes June 9, 2023. HLB staff will be accepting comments sent to HLB@AnchorageAK.gov. We encourage all to review the 2023 Annual Work Program & 2024-2028 Five-Year Management Plan. Click here to be directed to the Public Review Draft. The public hearing for the Work Program is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, June 22, 2023.
New Housing and Economic Development Committee:
As a result of Proposition 7 passing in the Girdwood Valley Service Area, the Girdwood Board of Supervisors has created a 7-member advisory committee for Girdwood Housing and Economic Stability. The following individuals were selected to serve on the committee: Brett Wilbanks, Tim Cabana, Erin Eker, Krystal Hoke, Brooke Lavendar, Thomas Meding and Matt Schechter. The first organizational meeting was held May 31st and intends to meet on a monthly basis.
A new proposed development is requesting 11 acres of Department of Transportation land at Girdwood airport. The proposed lease is 55 years with an annual rate of $48,830. Per the notice posted on the State of Alaska website: “Authorized uses: Mixed Aeronautical and Non-aeronautical – up to 150 short term lodging units, private aircraft storage, fueling, and maintenance. Ancillary facilities for a winter/summer sports center, fly out base, meeting space, and food and beverage service along with ten 600 square foot residences for employees in the upper two floors of the Ancillary facility.” The developers attended May’s Girdwood Board of Supervisors meeting and Andrew Faulkner and Timothy Treadwell, President and Vice President of Glacier Valley Lodge, have provided a follow up letter to GBOS (scan QR code to read).
Competing applications or written comments must be received by 4:30 p.m., June 12, 2023, after which the Department will determine whether or not to execute the lease. Comments can be sent to PO Box 196900 Anchorage, AK 99519-6900.
Significant changes at Alyeska:
Alyeska Resort has provided us with some information about their activities. The resort has recently launched a new Girdwood locals-only club called Club 587. Members will get access to exclusive discounts, special offers, and more. For those interested in joining, registration details can be found on the resort’s website at alyeskaresort.com/locals-only.
The resort has been undergoing several renovation projects. Last May, the hotel’s 8th floor was remodeled to offer guests a Club Floor experience. The newly upgraded destination, called the Black Diamond Club, features a private lounge with curated food and beverage offerings, a dedicated concierge, new in-room amenities, and more. The 8th floor consists of 34 rooms, including a mix of different-sized suites.
In July, a full refresh of the Aurora Bar is planned to begin. Also this summer, the new employee housing building is expected to be completed. The housing project consists of 71 units made up of 1-bedroom and studio apartments for Alyeska resort employees.
The resort is also preparing to launch the new Veilbreaker Skybridges, expected to begin their first tours this summer. The skybridges will span a combined 600 feet across the Christmas and New Years chutes, offering views of the surrounding mountains. The Alyeska team is working to upgrade the mountain and Resort guest experience and looking forward to a great 2023 summer.
The Roundhouse Museum at Alyeska:
The Roundhouse Museum at Alyeska resumed operations May 29th and will continue through the fall when the tram ceases operation. If you have not visited the Roundhouse previously, you will find gifts, historical artifacts from Girdwood, Alaska, mining, and skiing. You will also find a 3-dimensional topographical display featuring Alyeska Mountain and the surrounding range. Hours of operation are Sunday – Wednesday 10:30 AM – 5:00 PM Thursday – Saturday 10:30 AM – 6:00 PM.
Anchorage Assembly Housing Retreat:
On Friday May 19th, the Anchorage Assembly held an all-day Housing Retreat. Presenters included Nolan Klouda from UAA Center for Economic Development, Mike Robbins from Anchorage Community Development Authority, Kristine Bunnell and Daniel McKenna-Foster from Municipality Long-Range Planning, Tyler Robinson from Cook Inlet Housing Authority and Andre Spinelli of Spinell Homes.
Much of the meeting focused on challenges that developers experience to create new housing. There was a “Vision to Action Facilitated Conversation” which asked the audience and assembly members to suggest new policies to implement. The goal is to hold a “Housing Summit” in the fall to put forward suggested legislation to go into effect. Some interesting details provided by Nolan Klouda included statistics regarding how many houses are built per 1000 people are built. Alaska ranks 45th out of 50. Statewide, the average is 2 units per 1000 people. Anchorage, specifically, builds 1.3 units of housing per 1000 people.
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Until next time! Girdwood Inc, Board of Directors