Juneau Assembly unlikely to revisit proposal to move Fisherman’s Memorial

Once again, the Fisherman’s Memorial on Juneau’s downtown waterfront is likely staying put.

Assembly member Ruth Danner last night (Monday) suggested revisiting the idea of moving the memorial as the city pushes forward with plans for a floating Panamax cruise ship dock in front of it.

Danner said she had renewed concerns after receiving a letter from the Southeast Alaska Fisherman’s Alliance, raising questions about the dock’s impact on the annual Blessing of the Fleet and the view from the memorial. She spoke up as the Assembly was considering a bid award for Phase I of the project — an uplands staging area and sea walk extension near the Mt. Roberts Tram building.

“I’m a little uneasy about this particular action, because of the letter that we received, because it says that right now is fishing season,” Danner said. “And that it’s not possible for the fishing community to have anyone here to represent their interests.”

Danner ended up voting with the rest of the Assembly in a unanimous decision to award the bid to Trucano Construction for $1.9-million. But only after Port Director Carl Uchytil assured her Phase I would have no impact on the memorial.

During assembly comments later in the meeting, Mayor Bruce Botelho informally asked if any other assembly members wanted to revisit the idea of moving the memorial. Only Danner and Assemblyman Jesse Kiehl raised their hands.

Assemblyman Johan Dybdahl, participating by telephone, said the issue had already been decided.

“As far as I know, we made the decision to leave the memorial where it’s at, and I think that’s not changed,” said Dybdahl. “And I certainly don’t see how we’re going to do any stopping or backing up on 16-B [the Panamax cruise ship dock project].”

The Assembly authorized the Docks and Harbors department to move forward with the project in 2009. Last August, the Assembly meeting as Committee of the Whole voted to leave the Fisherman’s Memorial where it is.