I’d like to voice my support in favor of opening space up again for seasonal rentals in Garden City RV Park. As an owner of a locally based small business that has a history of renting space in the park, I can attest to the importance and value of offering some amount of sites for local summer rentals.
We all know of the shortage of available, affordable housing for seasonal employees, and historically my company has rented three sites in the park for use by our staff. This has been instrumental in our ability to attract and retain employees as we expand and grow our business. It’s not that we as a company are opposed to investing in the community and purchasing property to use as housing, but in the lead up to 2020 and the start of the pandemic, there was little to no housing available for sale suitable for our needs. By the time our company had grown to the point where the need existed, and our finances allowed for a purchase, there was no inventory. Fast forward to the present, and there is seemingly some real estate available for sale, but as we along with the rest of town haven’t operated for two years, we are nowhere near able to finance a property. Our goal as a company has always been to invest in our own company housing, and as we rebound and grow back from COVID, we will again strive to do this, but at this point it’s a non-starter.
We, along with many other local businesses, are barely hanging on, and need all the help possible to get back on our feet after this trying time. If we can’t provide housing to our employees we won’t be able to attract the new hires that we desperately need to operate at anywhere near our historical capacity. We will essentially step backwards, and will be faced with paying for company infrastructure in place in 2019, with employee levels from 2013.
With Canadian travel requirements still in place for the foreseeable future, it seems likely that any over-the-road tourism to Skagway will be severely curtailed, and any promise of renting sites out nightly to RV campers passing through is limited, to say the least. There is an entire separate campground at Pullen Creek that can accommodate these limited numbers. It seems very short sighted to deny seasonal rentals to locals who have traditionally used this park in favor of the remote possibility of campers passing through.
In summary, I feel it would be of great service to the community members and small businesses of Skagway to reopen the park to seasonal rentals. There are many that could use the availability of seasonal rental sites in Garden City to help get back on their feet and recover their financial footing. I know that in the future the park is slated for other types of development, and that opening this year in no way would guaranty this use in coming years, but I feel that to deny the community use of this facility would only serve as a hindrance and obstacle to repairing and growing back from this disaster.
Owner, Ocean Raft Alaska