Juneau officials consider giving Lemon Creek ‘some love’ in the form of a new urban path

The Lemon Creek Plan, finalized by the City and Borough of Juneau in 2018, shows where a multiuse path through the Juneau neighborhood Lemon Creek could go.

For years, Juneau Assembly members have said they want to do a project for the Lemon Creek neighborhood. It’s been overlooked in the past for improvements and new projects.

But now, the Assembly says a multiuse path through the neighborhood is on top of its Legislative priorities list. That means the Assembly will prioritize the project in its requests for money from state and federal lawmakers. 

The city’s working title for the project is the Lemon Creek Multimodal Path — meaning it can be used by all kinds of people in all kinds of ways for recreation and to get around the neighborhood. 

The city’s community development director Jill Maclean said the project is complex and it will take a lot of time and money to complete.  

“This isn’t something that we could just make happen more easily as like a small playground within a neighborhood or something,” Maclean said.

The biggest reason for the project is because the city is trying to give the neighborhood the attention it deserves, Maclean said. 

“We’ve recognized, the city and the Assembly, that Lemon Creek may not have historically received as much attention as some other areas and it’s now time for Lemon Creek to get some love,” Maclean said.

Right now, the city doesn’t know where the path will be, what it will cost, or when it will be done. It needs money to make a plan for the multiuse path first. Once there is a plan, there will be a chance for the public to weigh in.

The project hits a few pieces of the city’s Lemon Creek Plan, including transportation and recreation. Maclean said that Lemon Creek deserves these amenities that other neighborhoods in Juneau have enjoyed for years. 

And Maclean said the Systemic Racism Review Committee has made city staff think more about how resources are distributed. 

“That has also put a focus much more closely on land use, how we use the land, how we undertake permitting and how we cite certain uses,” Maclean said.

Assembly member Carole Triem said when the city and Assembly decide how to spend its money — that’s when inequity can happen. 

Triem said the Systemic Racism Review Committee can be a check on the Assembly, but it isn’t just on the committee to think about systemic racism in allocating resources.  

“So I think the majority of the responsibility is on the Assembly to make sure that the Assembly is keeping this in mind and not forgetting about it,” Triem said.

During an Assembly Finance meeting on March 12, Assembly members talked about putting one million dollars into the Lemon Creek path. And the capital budget has $150,000 set aside for planning. But these aren’t final budgets yet.

“We need to be focusing more on Lemon Creek. And when we talk about equity, we can start putting our money where our mouth is,” Triem said.

Triem is also hoping to put some money to some other smaller projects in Lemon Creek, like adding lights at Sigoowu Ye Park. 

Lyndsey Brollini

Local News Reporter

I bring voices to my stories that have been historically underserved and underrepresented in news. I look at stories through a solutions-focused lens with a goal to benefit the community of Juneau and the state of Alaska.

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