Dempsey-Anderson Ice Arena removed from list of shelter options, Sullivan back on the table

Dempsey-Anderson Ice Arena removed from list of shelter options, Sullivan back on the table
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 6:59 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - At a Wednesday meeting that lasted nearly three hours, members of the Anchorage Assembly finalized their plan to provide emergency winter shelter.

Members of the hockey community and concerned parents urged the Assembly to take one nominated site off their list of preferred locations: the Dempsey-Anderson Ice Arena..

The assembly responded by doing just that, and putting the Sullivan Arena back into consideration as a primary shelter site.

“We have a facility that already needs repair,” said Assembly Member Daniel Volland. “Why would we subject other municipally-owned facilities to that?”

Assembly members voted to support a scaled-back shelter at the Sullivan with a proposed limit of just 150 people.

The Assembly’s proposal also calls for the use of the former Golden Lion Hotel building. That location could become permanent housing for up to 120 people.

Other components of the Assembly’s plan include increasing the capacity at existing shelters. It calls for expansions in occupancy at Brother Francis Shelter by 20 people and Covenant House by 25 people. They also hope to utilize a new Bean’s Café location that can house 40 individuals.

The new plan “meets the Emergency Shelter Task Force’s criteria for options that reduce people’s risk of exposure to winter conditions, are feasible to implement within the next month, have public support, and maintain capacity limits of 150 or fewer people per location”, according to a release from Assembly member Felix Rivera, who also serves on Housing and Homelessness Chairperson.

Mayor Dave Bronson’s administration has yet to comment on the Assembly’s latest plan, although on Wednesday the mayor posted on his Facebook page that he opposed using Dempsey-Anderson as a shelter site.

Bronson Chief of Staff Adam Trombley said the administration is waiting to hear from the public before supporting or rejecting any sites.

Anchorage Assembly Members will vote on their plan at a special meeting on Monday, Sept. 26 from 6 to 8 p.m. Plan information and the meeting agenda will be available municipal website for the public to review. There will be opportunity for public comment.