Anchorage taxpayers still paying $5,000 per month to store materials for unbuilt navigation center

“I’m not going to give up on something that works that’s already paid for,” Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson said
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 8:39 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Despite lack of emergency shelter space in Anchorage in a year that has already seen a record number of outdoor deaths, materials for an unbuilt navigation center materials continue to be paid for by taxpayers.

The mayor’s office confirmed the cost of storage is approximately $5,000 per month. Mayor Dave Bronson points to the Assembly as the cause for the waste of space, materials and money.

“I adopted a plan based on a study, and that study says we need to build a shelter of 1,000,” Bronson said. “Here we are. We’re at a 1,000. Two a half years later and people are still getting cold on the street.”

The Anchorage Assembly has voted against the navigation center twice. In 2022, for lack of funding and certain aspects of the project had been started without Assembly approval.

Work sessions this summer once again discussed the possibility of constructing the navigation center and it was voted down again, where the Assembly cited funding issues.

“The cost continued to escalate,” Assembly Member Felix Rivera said. “It continued to go up and up and up. We started with $8 million, $9 million — it went up to like $25 million, who knows where it was going to go from there.”

Bronson however said he’s not giving up on the navigation center.

I’m not going to give up on something that works that’s already paid for,” Bronson said.

Rivera said the navigation center is just not going to happen.

“That’s a pipe dream,” Rivera said.

It’s unclear how long the navigation center materials will continue to be stored.