Anchorage Update
  June / 2010
Anchorage Alaska
Welcome to Anchorage Update

Welcome to the latest newsletter from the mayor's office. This edition is full of good news about the city's first flower celebration, a proposed solution to the University Lake dog park conflict and opportunities for the public to have a voice in next year's budget planning process. As always, send any feedback to mayor@muni.orgor follow me on facebook or twitter.
City's Flower Power on proud display: First Festival of Flowers a resounding success Anchorage mayor Dan Sullivan
Hundreds of flower-loving citizens showed up in force earlier this month to celebrate and raise money for the city's famed flower displays. Live music, planting seminars, flower sales and flower-themed arts and crafts brought out the crowds to Town Square Park that is home to some of the city's more elaborate flower beds. In total, an estimated $10,000 was raised, which will go to the City of Flowers endowment fund. It is hoped that endowment earnings eventually will offset and even replace the Municipality of Anchorage's funding for the flowers, making them less susceptible to budget fluctuations. Special thanks to the Anchorage Downtown Partnership, Ltd. and P&M Gardens for their support of the event.
festival of flowers
Mayor proposes multi-pronged solution to University Lake dog park controversy
Controversy around the popular University Lake dog park flared up earlier this month with both park users and park neighbors citing a lack of parking and clearly defined boundaries. Dog owners stated that they didn't know where the park boundaries were, and Alaska Pacific University (APU) representatives pointed to private land being inappropriately (and illegally) accessed by park users. Given the park's popularity with the community, Mayor Sullivan seeks a solution designed to meet the needs of both interest groups. He recently proposed:
1. Augment available parking by 20 spaces this summer north of the existing pullout. The lot will be located on city land.
2. Build a fence this summer to establish a firm boundary between the dog park/University Lake trail and the APU soccer field. Signage also will be added so dog owners know exactly where park land ends and private land begins.
3. Extend parking at University Lake Drive in 2014. This long-term solution will take a bit more time to complete but will extend University Lake Drive in conjunction with APU. Once complete, it will provide space for 20 additional vehicles.
The above items will require Assembly approval as well as cooperation from APU. All parties are hopeful that agreement can be reached soon.
Community budget discussions invite the public to weigh in on tough budget choices
Given next year's budget challenges expected to result in a $20 million reduction, Mayor Dan Sullivan announced a series of community conversations that will provide input to his budget decision-making. To assist in designing these discussions, the Municipality has retained the services of Viewpoint Learning, a leader in creating opportunities for citizens to have constructive input into public policy decisions.
This process will be very different from citizens' traditional role in the budget process, which usually is limited to three minutes of commentary during an Assembly public hearing after the Mayor has introduced the budget. Instead, these conversations will center on objective information about municipal finances and the choices that members of the Administration and Assembly will face in terms of the level of services provided and amount of property taxes collected.
Viewpoint Learning was selected to design and lead this process because of its experience in designing what they call "ChoiceDialogues" that differ from polls and focus groups in learning what citizens think.  While polls provide an accurate snapshot of people's current thinking, they are not designed to predict the future direction of people's views on important issues when they have not completely made up their minds.  ChoiceDialogues enable people - through dialogue with their peers - to develop their own fully worked through views on issues even if they previously have not given them much thought. Participants will work through several scenarios of spending and revenue choices and then delve further into the options and trade-offs within each. 
Specific meeting dates and locations will be announced later.
New public transportation vehicles hit Anchorage streets, replace aging fleet new bus
Fifteen new People Mover buses will begin serving Anchorage residents this month. Each 2010 New Flyer bus is equipped with automatic vehicle locators, passenger counters and computer aided dispatching. Additional features include larger bike racks to hold three bicycles and a video camera system which will enhance passenger safety and security. The new fleet will replace nearly half of the 1998 buses which have traveled more than 500,000 miles each. Fifty seven percent of the purchase is funded with Federal Highway Administration Congestion Mitigation & Air Quality funds, 36 percent is funded with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds (ARRA) and seven percent with local bond matching funds.  Two other Public Transportation divisions also will be putting new vehicles on the streets this summer. AnchorRIDES will replace seven vehicles and Share-A-Ride will replace nine vans and have one to expand service.
Port of Anchorage opens to the public this summer for annual tours
port of anchorageThe Port of Anchorage will offer free tours every Sunday this summer, beginning June 27 through August 29.  The tours will be conducted every half hour from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
The bus tours depart from the Alaska Railroad Corporate Office located at 327 West Ship Creek Avenue, where free parking is available.  Lasting approximately one hour, the tour will include a drive through the port to view the expansion project now in progress.  The tour stops at the Port Administrative Offices for a visit to the observation deck, where guests will view cargo ships loading and unloading cargo bound for Anchorage and the rest of Alaska.
For more information and directions, please call the Tour Hotline at 343-6230 or visit the website at
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Issue: 6
In This Issue
First Festival of Flowers
University Lake dog park solution
Community budget discussions
New public transportation vehicles
Port of Anchorage opens to the public

Mayor's Calendar

  • June 17
    US Army Birthday All-Ranks Ball
  • June 19
    Start of Mayor's Marathon (5K, half marathon, and marathon races)
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