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Some find relief in Bronson administration’s proposed shelter over former Alaska Club plan

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 6:15 PM AKDT|Updated: Jul. 13, 2021 at 8:14 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson’s administration is under a tight deadline to complete a proposed mass shelter and navigation center before winter, as the Sullivan Arena is being returned to its original purpose: hockey.

The mayor decided not to buy the former Alaska Club off Tudor Road in Midtown and many in the neighborhood behind the former gym are relieved. That plan, set up by former Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson, would have housed about 125 people.

“This is a neighborhood full of children,” said Cynthia Starnes, who lives in the area. “We’ve had serious problems at the end of the street with homeless camps that were out of control. The kids were seeing things they shouldn’t, so we’re really relieved that they decided not to purchase that building.”

Sherry Whah lives in the area and owns a business nearby.

“I stay here at night and I hear how fast people speed up and down this road, and my concern is that it’s like an open invitation to have these people wander out in the roads and be killed, so I was very very concerned about that,” she said.

Just down the street from the former Alaska Club is the proposed site of the Bronson administration’s 500-bed, $15 million shelter for those experiencing homelessness. People in the area have mixed feelings. Driving around the area, one can see signs like this on some of the corners:

Bronson administration proposed plan to build a new shelter near the old APD Headquarters off...
Bronson administration proposed plan to build a new shelter near the old APD Headquarters off Tudor and some are not happy about it.(KTUU)

Keith Christenson is a resident near the site of the proposed shelter. He thinks it’s a good idea.

“I think it’s wonderful,” he said. “It seems to be a good spot for it, and it’s real close to the hospitals over here, so they do have healthcare. I think the homeless need homes and a place to stay, and I think it makes sense.”

David Moore and Ellen Bryant spoke about how sometimes, people just need a little help to get back on their feet and hope the new proposed shelter has opportunities in place to help get people to independent living.

“If you going to put them up right there, give them a way out of the street, and be more productive,” Moore said. “A lot of them, they can work, they can progress, you know what I mean — but they just don’t have hope. Most people need something to have hope in. Hope leads you a long way.”

The site Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson and his administration are proposing for a mass shelter...
The site Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson and his administration are proposing for a mass shelter is currently used as a secure storage area for more than 500 vehicles considered to be evidence in criminal cases.(Alaska's News Source)

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