Hatcher Pass to get a new road - Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman: News

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Hatcher Pass to get a new road

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Posted: Saturday, February 25, 2012 9:08 pm | Updated: 5:32 pm, Tue Feb 28, 2012.

PALMER — Mat-Su Borough Assembly members voted Tuesday to extend a road in Hatcher Pass and build trailhead parking.

“We were going to build some geezer trails up at Hatcher Pass and this is the road that gets us up there,” Assemblyman Jim Colver said. “This ordinance will take interest earnings from the land management fund and plow it back into our own asset.”

The plan will invest $3.43 million of mostly federal money in the project. The piece from the land management fund — where the borough deposits proceeds from resource fees like gravel royalties — totals $218,465.

Colver said federal funding for the project was short $43,465. Without it, the borough could have just built the road, but not the parking lot. The additional $175,000 or so of borough money is for contingencies.

Testimony from Jay Nolfi opposing the use of land management funds for the project was read into the record at the meeting.

“This ordinance is flawed in several ways. It is merely wishful desire, a last-minute grab without funding, which should be postponed indefinitely,” she wrote in an email Assemblyman Steve Colligan read on her behalf. “To my knowledge, Hatcher Pass has never been placed before the taxpayers to see if they want their government to own and operate a ski resort.”

She questioned whether the borough was even allowed to use the interest earnings on the $5 million in that account for this kind of project. Assistant Borough Manager Don Moore told the assembly that roads are actually explicitly mentioned as something the borough can spend the money on.

“It’s going into a borough project to complete a borough road,” Moore said.

The trails in question, the borough says, are 10 miles long. The road being built, called Ullr’s Trail, will run a mile north of Edgerton Parks Road and end at that parking lot.

Colver said quite a bit of the funding got soaked up in studies because it’s a federally funded project, requiring a lengthy Environmental Impact Statement and various other pieces of federal paperwork.

“The whole project has been downsized quite a bit just to get the road in. There has been quite a bit of effort put into this and quite a few dollars cobbled together,” he said.

The trails are not the only project the borough has in the area. This summer, the borough intends to begin work on 10 kilometers of Nordic ski trails. The Mat-Su Ski Club has already cleared brush and trees for the trails, designed by Olympian Bill Spencer. The trails could open this November, the borough reports.

Contact reporter Andrew Wellner at andrew.wellner@frontiersman.com or 352-2270.

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  • Palmerguy posted at 12:18 pm on Wed, Feb 29, 2012.

    Palmerguy Posts: 36

    When are we going to get a DOWNHILL(ALPINE) Ski area??????????? We've been trying for years and the borough seems to kill it every time! It's an 80-mile trek to Alyeska, fer crying out loud!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Edited by staff.

  • perennialgma posted at 10:21 am on Tue, Feb 28, 2012.

    perennialgma Posts: 419

    Geezer trails for us babyboomers? Sounds like a great idea, the last few times I have gone up there with groups, I have found some geezers have different levels of mountaineering skills. And why not include acess for the handicapped of all ages. It is so darn beautiful up there we better build more bathrooms and a better road, This is not only for skiers. Alaskans have always loved this beautiful drive for its scenic value alone. We bring all our friends and family up here because it is a daytrip away. And lets make sure the public has acess ahead of construction time to remove desirable plant material from the construction zone. Please consider this request.

  • ptarmigan posted at 8:39 am on Tue, Feb 28, 2012.

    ptarmigan Posts: 15

    What would Valley skiers do without the generosity of the FEDERAL governemnt?

  • Marty Van Diest posted at 1:15 pm on Sun, Feb 26, 2012.

    Marty Van Diest Posts: 132

    @rsdevero, thin skinned? We geezers just need to revel in our advanced status!

  • Brian Sullivan posted at 12:45 pm on Sun, Feb 26, 2012.

    Brian Sullivan Posts: 53

    Sometimes conversations and folksy comments don't translate well in print.

    In the context of opining about federal monies.... Jim Colver said that the late Sen Stevens liked and supported funding to include building "geezer" cross country trails at Hatcher Pass.

    I think I qualify as needing this type of trail! The idea is Senior Friendly trails.... not a swipe at seniors!!

    The paper doesn't always capture the bigger picture.

  • rsdevero posted at 5:38 am on Sun, Feb 26, 2012.

    rsdevero Posts: 43

    "Geezer trails"? Assembly member Colver should be a bit more respectful of us Senior Citizens. We "geezers" probably put him in office. We can just as easily remove him come election time. His chacterization of seniors speaks volumes about his attitude towards those residents over 65. Watch your mouth Jim.


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