Assemblyman Felix Rivera issued a press release on Tuesday urging Mayor Dave Bronson to purchase the old Alaska Club building on Tudor Road and use it to serve homeless people.
It is a building that the former acting mayor rejected buying in November because of its poor condition and the need for costly remodels. The building was one of a series of buildings that former mayor Ethan Berkowitz was buying around Anchorage to create a network of shelters and services for homeless people and addicts.
At a meeting of the Assembly Committee on Housing and Homelessness, the mayor’s Chief of Staff Craig Campbell told the Assembly that the mayor was not inclined to buy the building.
“Mayor Bronson has until this Friday, July 9 to determine whether his administration will move forward with a years-long process to acquire the old Alaska Club building on Tudor Road. The building purchase was part of a larger framework to move forward with addressing homelessness and underlying issues in the Municipality of Anchorage, including substance misuse treatment and permanent supportive housing,” Rivera said in a statement.
“Visible homelessness is an issue for Midtown and one as representatives we’ve been asked to deal with repeatedly. The Alaska Club purchase is a reasonable response to those requests and can be done in conjunction with other options to address homelessness in Midtown and throughout Anchorage. Without the Alaska Club as an option, nothing in Midtown will change,” Assemblywoman Meg Zaletel said, calling the Alaska Club location a “reasonable path forward.”
“Without the Alaska Club, Mayor Bronson is forcing the Assembly into a no-win scenario,” Rivera said. “I’ve heard many times that this new administration wants to work with the Assembly to solve the problems of our city. Removing the Alaska Club from the negotiating table is tying one arm behind our backs.”
The previous acting mayor did many things as she left office — she signed a family leave policy, she remodeled the website for the Municipality, but one thing she didn’t choose to do is to purchase the Alaska Club building.
Mayor Dave Bronson is working on a plan to build a $15 million transition center for homeless in Anchorage, which would cost the city $12 million a year to operate. His model is based off of similar centers in Reno, Nevada and San Francisco, California.