Sullivan Arena details announced: Mayor opens it back up as venue

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Mayor Dave Bronson announced details of his decision to move the Sullivan Arena back to the use for which taxpayers paid: A venue for events such as sporting competition and .

He said the Municipality of Anchorage had signed an agreement with O’Malley Ice and Sports, which is already running the Ben Boeke and Dempsey Arenas. As the Boeke and Dempsey returned to use as ice arenas, the revenue to the city has returned to the 2017 and 2018 levels, Bronson said.

Under the agreement, O’Malley Ice and Sports is essentially renting the Sullivan to develop entertainment, trade shows, and other uses. John Stenehjem, who is the general manager of O’Malley Ice and Sports, will oversee the redevelopment of the arena.

The damage to the restrooms and the plumbing system that occurred while the building was occupied by the hardcore vagrant population under the Berkowitz Administration has been fixed and the building should be available by Nov. 1.

“This building is in remarkably good shape,” said Bronson, adding that the parking lot will be repainted with stripes soon and there is some glass that still needs to be repaired. The sound system is from the 1980s, he said, and at some point will need to be replaced.

The cold-weather plan for the homeless will be announced next week but will not include the Sullivan.

When asked by reporters what he will do to address the increasing number of street deaths in Anchorage, the mayor said that the recent deaths are not caused by exposure and that most of the deaths occurred after the Sullivan Arena was closed as a shelter in May.

A lot of the street deaths “are drug-related and alcohol abuse, fentanyl, we suspect, the indicators, it looks like fentanyl,” Bronson said. “”Winter is going to add to that unless, quite frankly, the assembly comes up with a shelter.”

Mayor Bronson had earlier announced his plan to give people plane tickets so they can either move back with their families or head to a warm climate. Assembly Chairman Chris Constant called that a bad idea, since he believes that Anchorage is Dena’ina-owned property, and Natives should not be invited to leave.

Bronson said, “We’ve spent $161 million in homelessness in this city. But we do not have a shelter. We need a shelter,” People are “better off living on the street in a wam climate than they are dying on the streets of Anchorage because of exposure.”

The Anchorage Assembly has blocked the mayor from being able to address the homeless situation. The Assembly blocked his development of a purpose-built structure that would serve the homeless as a navigation center. The Assembly instead has used homelessness as a political battering ram against a mayor that they openly despise, knowing that, with the help of the mainstream media in Anchorage, a crisis in homelessness over the winter could tilt the vote against the mayor in the March-April 2024 election.

24 COMMENTS

  1. Anyone feeling, as the assembly pretends to, that their property belongs to the homeless should immediately step forward and donate their homes. Problem solved.

  2. Great. Now, hire investigators to find all the Natives that have been illegally banished from their home villages and sue the BIA.

    Tribal Courts are responsible for costs incurred by other municipal governments, while the term of punishment is being imposed. BIA funds Tribal Courts, so go to the source of the problem, which is the BIA. If you want to put an instant stop of the pratice of dumping the Village unwanted, go after the BIA funding.

    I’m guessing half of the homeless can’t accept a ticket home, even if they wanted. The State would have to actually stand up for human rights and arrest Tribal Court Justices for imposing and enforcing banishment. My guess on percentages is based on a friend that worked for Catholic Social Services and asked every Native if they were there because of Tribal Courts. It’s a stigma, but the clients related to a Native gal from the Bush and admitted to banishment in numbers “that floored” her. No way was she expecting the huge volume of people unceremoniously ripped from their homes and pitched to the streets of Anchorage.

    Banishment is only legal on Indian Reservations, of which there are none in western or northwestern Alaska.

  3. So, you give and give, trying to lift people out of poverty and addictions, this is how they repay generosity? They destroy! My grandparents were extremely poor as well as my parents. My grandmother always said you can be as poor as a church mouse, but you don’t have to live like pigs!

  4. When the supporters and voters for the left-leaning assembly members realize that they are being used and abused in their own city by their own assembly to only win an election in another year, they may realize how much they are really cared about by the assembly – zilch. But alas, some can’t grasp that as they parade their noble tolerance flag down the street for everyone to see.
    You’d think the hate would be strong enough to let Bronson try ANY of his ideas. THEN if it flops, they could blame him legitimately. Instead, they are counting on voters stupid enough to believe the homeless crisis became a crisis because Bronson was elected and did nothing, despite being thwarted at every attempt to do something different.

  5. If Constant thinks Anchorage belongs to the natives, why is he -non native white man- running it?

    Did he get permission to run for office?
    To live there?
    To be openly gay (not sure if that is in opposition to local native culture)?
    To be elected by white people who almost certainly don’t have permission to be there?

    It goes on and on and on. People like Constant don’t give a damn about natives. Beyond how useful they can be to the liberal white man.

  6. Go get ‘em Mr. Mayor we’re with you. It’s funny how the dimwits on here critiqued the navigation center as a “tent in the woods” but if you drive by the pile on 3rd avenue and the rocks on the hill above the train depot or the park Or a snow dump or any intersection really….that’s exactly what the assembly has given us; bums sleeping in tents in the woods. Good stuff.

  7. The last paragraph says it all. $161,000,000+ could have paid for 268,333 one-way tickets out of Anchorage. Or $161,000,000+ was spent on 3,150 homeless at $51,111 each. We still don’t have a drug drug/alcohol treatment center as agreed to in writing when the ML&P was sold and the Golden Lion was purchased with money from the sale.

    Blame the purse string holders of the cash: Anchorage Assembly members. I am sure Ms. Zalatel made out like a bandit for her side job at the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness. She needs to take another mental health sick leave break overseas in Europe for a few more months.

  8. Doesn’t Bronson understand that this was supposed to be the ‘new normal?’ Just like mail-in ballot elections! Our public venues aren’t supposed to benefit taxpayers! That is racist 1980’s-era thinking.

    Our arenas are supposed to be multi-million dollar playgrounds for those who contribute least! Sullivan Arenas’ highest purpose is for removing vagrants’ burden of finding adequate food and shelter – so they can use that free time procuring drugs and alcohol, while raping their women behind transformers.

    Previous M&O director Saxton Shearer, a former college athlete himself, had made it a high priority to get the Sullivan Arena back into shape for public use – and the Assembly never forgave him for that.

  9. Bronson, is right again(!!!) … “Folks are better off living in the streets of a warm climate than to suffer a long and cold winter” and, I certainly agree that it’s most humane to send the homeless to the warm and welcoming climate of California, where there’s an abundance of opportunities and plentiful handouts. I also agree with Bronson’s pointed comment related to what the Assembly has wasted, a whopping $161MM of Taxpayers Dollars, and have absolutely nothing to show for it. A complete abrogation of fiduciary responsibility and misrepresentation, emblematic of willful and intentional fraud.

  10. The assembly cabal is approaching the maximum revenue they can appropriate from the property owners. I foresee an exodus from the assembly by those that have used it as a revenue tool.

  11. Interesting that the recent ‘homeless’ street deaths are related to Fentanyl, which is the actual main cause of George Floyd’s death, which was suppressed, so the BLM riots could be justified.

    • George was just another very useful tool for BLM to elevate their platform.
      Silicon Valley bank(Gavin Newsom’s puppets) thought it was elevated enough to donate 73million which the taxpayers ended up paying through FDIC

  12. Hy Chris if the Dena’ina own the property shouldnt they be collecting the property taxes and you should be hangin in their teepee waiting for orders from their headquarters.
    You alone could be saving their life from the deadly fentanyl by testing it first.
    You could also introduce your brilliant colleage Sam Brinton to them in case they need help with disfunctional family issues.
    Sounds like a win win situation for all of us.

  13. All that money and what is there to show for it. Fly them to somewhere we don’t care what the assembly likes.

  14. Well! If the government reduce who is eligible for public assistance we’d see less drug deaths. It’s on you (all those in government) single adults do not need to be receiving any government assistance like snap. They have no kids to feed. Don’t tell me a single 55-75 year old can’t take an extra job just to buy gas or food, when I have worked with 63 year old housekeepers. Damn! If one can be 63 years old and cleaning hotel rooms, you can do anything!

  15. I think “Mr. Constant” should take some of these homeless home with him. We have spent millions of dollars on them, they tore up the Sullivan which required thousands to repair and I believe in our Mayor’s idea of building a place; close to the police station for security, and providing assistance for these people to get training of some kind so that they can evolve. As it is now, they are in limbo and the Assembly is not helping. The Assembly are the ones we need to get rid of.

  16. Constant says Natives shouldn’t be invited to leave their land? What a racist! Is he saying the street inebriates are Native? If anyone on the other side of the aisle said that, they would have been torched by the left. The homeless come in all shapes and colors, but it’s not lost on anyone what most of the people on the corners look like. I’m just shocked that Constant said it out loud!

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