By Leigh Armstrong
During the 2030 Skagway comprehensive plan open house Oct. 18, residents showed heavy support toward year-round health care for all.
Juneau-based consultant Barb Sheinberg and her team listed more than 100 objectives raised in past community meetings as the town is working toward the comprehensive plan’s 10-year update. The list was divided into seven areas: public services, transportation, recreation, public safety, public utilities, housing and economic development.
Attendees at the Oct. 18 meeting at the Elks Club were given three stickers to mark areas they believed Skagway should focus on in the future. In addition, they were also given a special sticker to signify their top priority in each individual area.
Judging by the number of top-priority stickers, participants at the open house ranked health care opportunities for all community members to live comfortably year-round as the most important objective for the 2030 comprehensive plan. Health care fell under the public services category.
The evening’s discussion did not include how to pay for health care services.
The next meeting is set for Nov. 20, when the municipality’s comp plan team will lead a discussion of the pre-draft report. The schedule calls for the borough’s planning and zoning commission to meet Jan. 23 for a public hearing and possible adoption of the 2030 plan.
In the public utilities category, maintaining and upgrading the community’s wastewater systems was the top choice Oct. 18. In transportation, maintaining safe year-round access to and from Skagway was top priority.
Infrastructure investment to maximize visitor experience was No. 1 in the economic development category. In recreation, most people voted for updating zoning codes to protect recreational uses of the land. For public safety, the participants wanted enough fire, police and emergency medical services to meet local demands.
On the issue of housing, voting was split between two issues: monitoring development, subdividing and selling land for residential development, and providing stimulus for rehabbing dilapidated housing in town.
The open house also included a map that showcased future safety and transportation concerns, such as areas to add crosswalks or bike lanes in town.
Attendees also had a chance to submit a haiku about Skagway. The top two poems will win $50 and be printed in the upcoming comprehensive plan. One of the poems that Sheinberg said will make it into the plans was a piece about longtime community volunteer Robert Carlin “Buckwheat” Donahue, who passed away on Oct. 14.