Borough will apply for rec center improvements grant

The borough assembly has selected an almost quarter-million-dollar recreation center project for Wrangell’s application to a competitive, federally funded COVID-19 aid grant program, while it has also adopted its projects wish list for consideration by the Legislature this year.

The assembly at its Dec. 21 meeting approved upgrades to the heating and ventilation systems and carpet replacement at the recreation center as its selected project for a federal COVID aid community development grant program.

The estimated $225,000 rec center work was the borough’s priority project. However, staff had been working a month to solve a problem: They were unable to find the deed or land patent for the largest of four properties that the high school, recreational facility and community center occupy.

“Therefore, staff was hesitant to make this a formal recommendation not knowing if and when site control could be obtained in time for the application and award,” Carol Rushmore, the borough’s economic development director, wrote in a presentation for the assembly.

After a title search, with help from R&M Engineering surveyor Mike Howell, and Chere Klein with Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s Ketchikan office, staff was able to obtain necessary documentation to satisfy the program’s requirements.

The project is intended to replace failed HVAC-related mechanical equipment, replace pneumatic controls with digital controls for automated building temperature management, and replace carpeting in the entry and some side areas of the facility.

For the federal funding cycle, $5.7 million in competitive grant funds are available statewide, Rushmore wrote. The maximum amount of grant funding for any one applicant or project is $850,000, and there is no match requirement under the program.

Grant awards will be issued in April; funds would not be available until any environmental review processes are complete.

The assembly on Dec. 21 also finalized its annual wish list, or capital improvement project list, that it is submitting to the Legislature. Water projects lead the way on the list.

The Legislature is scheduled to reconvene in Juneau on Jan. 18.

The top two-thirds of the list includes:

1. Water treatment plant improvements.

2. Reservoir dams stabilization and improvements.

3. Upper reservoir bypass (a new connection to the water treatment plant).

4. Zimovia Highway water main replacement.

5. High school and middle school life and health safety, fire alarm system upgrades.

6. Diesel power plant replacement.

7. Barge ramp replacement.

8. Meyers Chuck harbor replacement.

9. Recreation center, pool siding and roofing replacement.

10. Public Safety Building rehabilitation

11. Inner Harbor replacement.

12. Road resurfacing (downtown corridors).

13. Environmental remediation of contaminated soils.

14. Recreation center and pool HVAC replacement.

15. Cemetery expansion.

16. Road resurfacing (residential corridors).


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