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Financing questions loom over Gondola installation – kinyradio.com

Photo of the used gondola (Photo Credit: Eaglecrest.)

Juneau, Alaska (KINY) – Planning on how to finance the installation of the Gondola aerial ski lift in Juneau’s Eaglecrest is ongoing.

The Juneau assembly had approved the initial $2 million dollars to purchase the used Austrian lift, but now city officials are figuring how to pay for the installation, as assembly member Greg Smith explained on the KINY Morning Show Friday.

“As we’re kind of working through right now, it’s a gondola up to the ridgeline, mountain coaster, some infrastructure at the summit. We did kind of at my request also have some unknowns and things that we’re trying to figure out as we move forward. Things like water and sewer and electrical and just a lot of the details that that need to be answered before we kind of continue to move forward with this.”

Smith also serves as chair of the Eaglecrest summer operations task force, who discussed the matter last week.

“Big thing for me is financing, how would we pay to install it,” he said. “There are some exciting conversations going on about that, but in my mind, if we don’t really have a good plan for that by the 11th then I don’t know if I see this fully going forward.”

He said that, as part of the plan to finance the installation, there are some opportunities. He will be asking if it is viable to add the gondola installation to the 1% sales tax increase proposal voters approve every five years.

The 1% sales tax increase is generally used for city and school facility maintenance, among other things.

“I’m not willing to potentially mess that up if there just isn’t public support to use sales tax to pay for the installation of the gondola, for instance. That’s not our only option of how to finance installation, but I need to know that we have a viable plan that will be supported by the public, or working with partners, or there’s a lot of different things to do,” he said. “So again, some exciting conversations happening, but if we don’t have that, I don’t know how I can support to bring it over just to have it sit in the parking lot.”

Smith said they will receive additional updates at the summer operations task force’s next meeting on March 31st.

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