Officials prepare to clear campers from Cuddy Park on Tuesday

Campers are packing their belongings at Cuddy Park in advance of Tuesday's abatement deadline
Published: Jun. 5, 2023 at 6:36 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Municipality of Anchorage’s planned abatement of Cuddy Park is set for Tuesday as the last residents of the Midtown park prepare to move out. The city issued abatement notices last month ahead of a large concert event expected to draw thousands of people.

By Monday it was clear that many had left, but some were still packing up. Kristi Shawanokasic was one of them. She said she and her extended family had been packing for several days.

“We have no solid plan, we don’t even know where we are going to go,” she said. “Like people will say, ‘Go here, go there’ — it’s not that easy.”

Concert promoter Hellen Fleming, owner of Showdown Alaska, said she has sympathy for the people who are living in or near the park. She said she signed the lease with the city to hold the festival in the park in December, prior to the Sullivan Arena closing as a homeless shelter. She isn’t sure why so many people were permitted to settle there.

“Why would you let these residents and campers set up their homes and try and live out the summer at a place that you knew was going to have thousands of people? There seems to be a lot of miscommunication going around in the city, and unfortunately, we just got the blame dumped on us,” she said.

Anchorage Housing and Homeless Coordinator Alexis Johnson said in an email Monday that the camps are not legally permitted and that the abatement at Cuddy would be held on Tuesday.

“Given the expected size and nature of the event as well as the fact that it has been permitted for alcohol, the city believes having that many camps at the event site represents significant safety concerns for all parties,” Johnson wrote.