Bronson administration says Centennial Campground will close on Friday, campers wonder where they will go

The Bronson administration says Centennial Campground will close on Friday, Sept. 30, leaving campers to wonder where they will go
Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 6:00 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - At an emergency meeting Monday night, Anchorage Assembly members passed and funded a shelter plan to begin Oct. 1, which includes space for the estimated 200 people who are living at Centennial Campground in East Anchorage.

Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson said he is considering the plan but has yet to approve it. That’s left some homeless Anchorage residents staying at the campground wondering if they will have a place to go after Friday.

Bean’s Café Director Lisa Sauder, who was passing out bright safety vests provided by Tote Maritime at the campground on Tuesday, said she can understand the anxiety, but was hopeful that shelters would be available by Oct. 1.

“Nobody likes uncertainty in their lives, and when you are already living in a precarious situation to know that it may be coming to a sudden end, and not know exactly what the next step is going to be, it’s very difficult,” Sauder said.

Even if shelter space becomes available, Sauder said there will still be barriers for some. That includes people at the campground who have pets, since no shelters will currently accept them.

For its part, the Bronson administration said the plan remains the same, Centennial Campground will close on Friday, September 30.

“Centennial will be closing on the 30th,” Bronson’s Spokesperson Hans Rodvik wrote in an email on Tuesday. “Traditionally, the campground closes on Labor Day. This year, we have extended that closure by nearly a month. It is being closed to ensure staff have time to winterize the facility and clean it up prior to winter. Water and electricity will be turned off as is normal. Campers at the campground have been given ample notice that the facility was closing on the 30th. "

Rodvik said the city plans to provide transportation to people at the campground who are seeking shelter elsewhere, but the email doesn’t say exactly where they will go.