Tonight’s Anchorage Assembly Meeting is certain to be Anchorage’s must-watch TV event as it’s the first meeting in which David Bronson will be attending in his official capacity as Anchorage Mayor.
Bronson will be asking the Anchorage Assembly for a 15 million dollar appropriation to build his temporary mass shelter ‘Bronsonville.’ In recent days, questions about the project’s cost have been raised by former Municipal City Manager Bill Falsey, who has noted that Bronson’s appropriation request doesn’t include things like bathrooms.
According to Falsey, the 15 million dollar cost is supposed to be used for Phase 1 and to relocate the Anchorage Police Department impound lot. Still, Falsey says that the only bathroom facilities he sees in the 30% drawings of the mass shelter are in the modular buildings outside of, but possibly attached to, the Sprung Structure.
The modular buildings are not included in Phase 1 costs according to the shelter’s plans—they’re actually listed in Phase 2, which costs over 7 million dollars more.
And while Falsey isn’t 100% certain, he believes that construction of the facility would extend beyond the footprint of the current parking lot and into the wetlands. In addition, Falsey says that the “fire access road” which is supposed to circle the structure doesn’t presently exist.
On social media, Assembly Members have begun telegraphing their positions to constituents about where they stand on ‘Bronsonville,’ which is estimated to cost over 22 million dollars in construction costs alone. That figure doesn’t include the $12 million annually to operate the structure, an estimated figure given by the Bronson administration.
Anchorage Assembly Members Dunbar and Zaletel will be introducing a “compromise proposal” at tonight’s Assembly meeting.
According to Dunbar, the proposal is a substitute version of Bronson’s resolution to build the Mass Shelter that would restore the Alaska Club purchase. The compromise would set aside funding for Mayor Bronson to do design and preparation (including moving the evidence lot) for a smaller facility. Dunbar says that he hopes the Mayor will work with the Assembly and doesn’t have a “take it or leave it” approach.
Assemblyman Felix Rivera wrote on Twitter that the $440k loss the city is eating in response to Mayor Bronson’s decision to cancel the deal to purchase the former Alaska Club building wouldn’t actually be lost if the Bronson administration came to the table to negotiate and reconsider its decision not to purchase the building.
In a Facebook post last week, Assemblygollum Jamie Allard flip-flopped her position on Bronson’s proposal after telling the Save Anchorage group that “a mass shelter isn’t the answer” to Anchorage’s unhoused problem.
Allard now says that she’s on board with the new Mayor’s plan, writing, “holding our homeless population accountable in making better choices assist(ing) as needed with drug and alcohol rehab, mental health issues and temporary sheltering to permanent housing solutions,” will help make the homeless productive members of society.
The Anchorage Assembly meeting begins at 5 p.m. this afternoon. You can find a link to the agenda & packet for tonight’s meeting here.