Legislators: Parnell budget invests in Juneau

Governor Parnell’s budget proposal includes $9.2 million to upgrade the Douglas Island Office Building. It’s the first of three phases of renovation for the building, which has been called the administration’s top priority to address capital city state office needs.

The administration had plans to build a new facility to house about 500 employees from various departments, but dropped the idea in October in favor of remodeling the Douglas building.

At the same time the administration is doing an analysis of capital city office space. Juneau Sen. Dennis Egan says Parnell’s investment in the Douglas building does not preclude a new office building in Juneau at a later date.

“When the site survey and all this stuff are complete, I think we still have a chance for a building that is scaled down,” Egan says. “But I’m really happy that the Department of Administration is investing money in refurbishing the Douglas Island complex, which means there will still be a state facility on the island.”

Before the administration dropped the idea of a new building, it was searching for a spot for it.

Rep. Cathy Munoz says the preferred site was atop the current State Office Building parking garage on Whittier Street. The facility is in need of major repairs – and Parnell has $2.5 million in his budget for the project.

“And that’s part of a total project of about 7 and a half million,” Munoz says. “And it’s my hope that they’re (the administration) looking at those upgrades as a means of possibly expanding at that site at a future time.”

The budget also contains $10 million in federal funds for Glacier Highway reconstruction from Fritz Cove Road to Seaview Avenue. $1.5 million is slated for pavement rehabilitation for Yandukin and Shell Simmons drives, $2 million for dust control on Mendenhall Valley streets, and $2 million for Juneau’s Capital Transit bus service.

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