By Lilly Milman
The borough assembly discussed using the patch of land behind Dedman Stage at Seven Pastures park as a site for a new RV park and vacant land near the Gold Rush Cemetery for a dry campground at its Aug. 15 meeting.
Garden City RV Park is currently located between 15th and 17th avenues on State Street. The assembly’s planning and zoning committee has been discussing relocation of the RV park to a new site across the Skagway River in order to develop housing at the old location. However, the process of extending water and sewer lines across the Pat Moore Bridge is “moving but it is delayed, mostly due to responses from the state,” Assemblymember Orion Hanson said.
Assemblymember Dan Henry described the utilities at the current site as “degraded, to hazardous almost,” which is one reason the borough wants to move the RV park to a new site as soon as possible. At an Aug. 1 meeting, the borough assembly approved a motion to install a dump station at the RV park in lieu of replacing the sewer lines that run underneath the property and feed into the municipal sewer system, given the park’s impending relocation. “We have to put in something then that can address and satisfy the RV traffic,” Henry said.
Using the land just south of Seven Pastures for an RV park would be one way of fast-tracking the process, as the municipality could lease the land from the state and potentially run sewer and water lines under the bridge to a lift station and then through the new RV lot. This would require minimal state permits, as opposed to running the utility lines over the road, Assemblymember Steve Burnham said. In addition, Burnham said he does not believe the RV park would heavily disrupt the current use of Seventh Pastures.
“Those heavy sports weekends or concert weekends, we’re already filling that whole parking lot full of RVs, and all down on state land,” he said. “It’s an unsanctioned, dry RV park. They’re avoiding all the locations that have utilities that are set up to do that, and they’re staying for up to a week.”
While the assembly agreed to look into Seven Pastures as the new site, there was also some pushback from the community on the dry campground near the cemetery.
Mavis Hendrickson disagreed with the potential location for the dry campground (no water or sewage service), often referred to as “the old paintball site,” because she believes the land is damp and marshy.
Hanson later said the land is actually high and dry, and partially diked already.
Hendrickson also argued for keeping the RV park in the same location. “The RV park is pretty well settled where it’s going, I believe,” she said.
Mike Healy wrote a letter to the borough opposing the new RV park location, citing the fact that it could infringe on the disc golf course in that area and bring more tourists to a recreation area used by locals. Burnham said there is ample room to have both an RV park and a disc golf course.
“I would prefer to see an RV park go into the land near the Gold Rush Cemetery. The placement makes more sense to me, as it keeps that sometimes necessary boundary between tourists and people that live in Skagway,” Healy wrote.
Mayor Andrew Cremata voiced concerns about people operating large RVs in an area where children frequent, and Henry mentioned that the turn into Seven Pastures must be reviewed as it could be a hazard for the large vehicles.
Upon Hanson’s recommendation, Cremata sent the issue to the assembly’s civic affairs committee for further review.