Anchorage capital improvement budget includes amendments for park improvements

Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 7:46 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - At last week’s Anchorage Assembly meeting, the general operating budget was not the only spending proposal passed. The assembly also amended and passed the capital improvement budget, which has a big emphasis on city parks.

“Parks are a place where people can go to play, to associate, to enjoy the time,” said Assembly Vice Chair Chris Constant.

The assembly approved more than $2 million in the form of budget amendments for projects for park improvements across the city.

“We as an assembly decided that it was important for us to keep working on the adopted capital improvement program that we have established over the last several years to ensure that our park facilities continue to be upgraded as the city continues to grow,” Constant said on Monday.

These improvements include:

  • Funding for FY22 to the Athletic Field Safety Improvements project.
  • Funding for FY22 to the Government Hill Community-wide Park Plan and Improvements project.
  • An amendment that returns the East Chester Park project start date to June 2022 as originally approved in the 2021 Capital Budget.
  • Funding for FY22 to the Chanshtnu Muldoon Park project.
  • Funding for FY22 to the Russian Jack Springs Park Safety and ADA Improvements project.

“We made a commensurate investment in our parks that we feel is necessary to see a vibrant future for children to have places to play, for the public to have greenspace and for us to develop our assets thoughtfully and strategically over time,” Constant said.

As for what will pay for these projects, city residents will need to vote on bonds that would be paid back by property taxes.

Just last week, Global Ratings downgraded the municipality’s general obligation and certificate of participation bonds rating from a “AAA” to a “AA+” rating, causing hesitancy among some assembly members who asked Municipal Manager Amy Demboski what will happen.

“There is no question, when the municipality puts out new bonds it will cost us more that it did previously,” Demboski said during the assembly meeting.

She also said last week if the municipality continues to spend the way it has, the bond company could further downgrade the city.

These improvement projects are not set in stone yet. Since they are a bond proposals, these projects will go up for vote this April where the involved communities will decide if they want them or not.

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