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New King's Landing project includes rain gardens to improve Ship Creek water quality

(KTUU)
Published: Jun. 20, 2016 at 5:34 PM AKDT
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A popular section of Ship Creek is the recipient of a major new facelift.

Today Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz cut the ribbon on the King's Landing development, a more than $2-million project that adds walkways, benches, bathrooms and cleaning tables to the urban fishery.

One of the focal points of the area is a new rain garden. The garden looks nice, but it also has a practical side. City project manager Lori Schanche says the garden has a special mix of top soil that acts like a filter. According to Schanche, when it rains, water from a nearby parking lot runs toward Ship Creek. That water will carry pollutants like gasoline, oil and anti-freeze. She says, "none of that is good for fish."

Now, instead of spilling into the creek, the water will seep into the garden where pollutants are filtered by the soil and rocks beneath. Schanche says the garden will improve the water quality.

A second rain garden is being built on the Buttress above the Ship Creek area. It will trap pollutants from the parking lot near Third Avenue.

Jim Kubitz, a Vice President for The Alaska Railroad, calls King's Landing a "corner stone project." He says the improvements are attracting developers.

According to Kubitz, "for the first time that we have all the amenities here that we put in and developers are starting to come out and say, 'You know what, this is a good place to be because its connected to downtown, its connected to the bike trail.' There's a lot of synergy going on in Ship Creek.

Kubitz says the team of developers is looking at a plot of land at Second and Christiansen to build a 24 unit housing complex. He says the railroad and developers are hoping to put the final touches on the deal within the next three weeks.