Is Anchorage Mayor David Bronson’s proposed mass shelter in peril? If you consider a tweet sent today by East Anchorage Assembly Member Forrest Dunbar, it may just be an indicator that a dark storm is brewing over Bronson’s proposed project.
In his tweet, Dunbar wrote that he doesn’t believe that Mayor Bronson has the votes for a Mass Shelter which He has consistently said is too large for any neighborhood—a sentiment echoed by Eagle River Assembly Woman Jamie Allard, who has in recent weeks written that she too had concerns over the size of Bronson’s proposed project in addition to its associated costs.
Allard, however, recently came out in support of the mass shelter on Facebook this week after a meeting with the Bronson administration and weeks after telling Save Anchorage group members that a mass shelter was not going to work.
Earlier this week, Midtown Anchorage Assembly Members Felix Rivera and Meg Zaletel said in a press release that without the Alaska Club purchase, Mayor David Bronson is “forcing the Assembly into a no-win scenario.”
The Midtown Assembly Members’ statement came after Tuesday’s Anchorage Assembly meeting of the Committee on Housing and Homelessness. Bronson Chief of Staff Craig Campbell told the committee that the Bronson administration was not “inclined” to move forward with a plan to purchase the Alaska Club.
In May, Acting Anchorage Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson said that the Municipality had entered into a $5.4 million contract to purchase the old Alaska Club building. However, Quinn-Davidson opted to leave the decision to finalize the purchase with Mayor Bronson.
Today, interim spokesperson Matt Shuckerow said that the Bronson administration does not intend to move forward with the purchase of the Alaska Club, which would have provided over 100 beds for Anchorage’s unhoused population.
According to the Bronson administration, the proposed mass shelter structure is estimated to cost 5.3 million and another 10 million for construction costs. In addition, Dr. John Morris, who leads the Bronson administration’s homelessness response, told the Anchorage Assembly that annual operational costs for the facility could reach 12 million dollars.
Assembly Member Meg Zaletel has previously said that purchasing the Alaska Club building is a “reasonable response” to repeated requests to address visible homelessness and says that without the Alaska Club as an option, “nothing in Midtown will change.”