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Home (Welcome)GovernmentPlanning (Land Use & Development)South Fill Project1st South Fill Meeting Report Back

1st South Fill Meeting Report Back

March 26, 2013

Big Picture

  • Need to think about the waterfront as a whole.
  • City has done and is continuing to do a lot of waterfront planning; need to re-examine and take advantage (workshop coming up April 8th, 6:30 on North Fill, for example).
  • Think broadly about what constitutes “waterfront” (“1st Street, even 2nd Street could be part of “waterfront” with better access;” “we need to better use what we have”).
  • Is there a budget for these South Fill and other waterfront improvements? Need to think about how best to spend finite community resources; is there actually demand for more land? Is the town actually growing?
  • Need to respect importance of commercial fishing as the fundamental driver of the community and the community economy. Above all, don’t shrink area available to support commercial fishing.

Meeting Commercial Demand

  • Need to think about land use needs over near and long term; what is supply of land today, including both city and private land? Is this sufficient to meet foreseeable needs?
  • Instead of filling new waterfront areas, which is very expensive, encourage infill on existing private lands. “Several properties for sale downtown.” “What about five empty buildings on 2nd street”?
  • If there is a need for more fill, decide by looking at the waterfront as a whole, comparing relative environmental/habitat values in different areas, and the relative value of different areas for developed uses.
  • If more fill in the existing South Fill area is needed, consider extending South Fill west, into deeper water. This area is slightly less valuable for birds, would have less environmental and community impact.

Meeting Demand for Other Uses

  • Need for more public land for waterfront mini-parks, seating areas; for residents, for businesses.
  • There is a severe lack of places for cannery off work workers, areas to decompress (today, lots of folks hang out by the gazebo, and on the hill below the gas station).
  • Add a greenbelt along outer edge of existing fill? Does property ownership allow?
  • Clean-up and create a small park on water side of ball field, not far from school.

Harbor-edge, Other Fill Options

  • Expand existing fill into harbor, by installing vertical sheet pile and backfilling. This could be done along both the south and north sides of the existing harbor. NOTE: Whittier has done this (successfully?).
  • If existing fill is expanded along Nicholoff Way, keep existing boat parking; consider breaking up dock that parallels Nicholoff to allow for easier access.
  • Consider pushing out existing breakwater to west; this could happen as part of adding fill on the outer, western side of the existing South Fill. 
  • Better use of existing South Fill land – get rid of dirt pile to clear up usable space.
  • Mudflats are critical stop over for shore birds. Cordova area is designated/recognized for critical value to migrating shore birds. In general, highest mudflat values are in shallower area; these often extend quite far from the high tide mark.

Pedestrian Circulation

  • Waterfront area needs to be a safer, more attractive and enjoyable place to walk; need pathways and sidewalks.
  • New sidewalks would address many of the objectives that are tied to the proposed South Fill.
  • Add sidewalks along Railroad Ave, and along other roads near the harbor.
  • Create a walking trail/sidewalk along water side of the harbor, from north, to east, to south. Take advantage of the City right of way passing Reluctant.
  • Put in sidewalks along Harbor Loop Road.
  • Some connection along the route from school to AC/harbor is needed; advantages and disadvantages road vs. trail connection:
    • Road just shifts vehicular congestion into school area?
    • A trail beside a road is easier to plow.
    • PWS Audubon chapter: road or trail prefer it’s built on pilings (but very costly).
    • If road or trail, have a good sized culvert to allow water to flow under and through
    • Vital to connect downtown to harbor:
      • Covered walkway and steps down from Cordova center are planned.
      • Enhance or replace existing walk below gas station (called for in Cordova Tourism Plan).

Vehicular Circulation

  • Vehicular and pedestrian circulation along Railroad Ave is a mess.
    • Widen, improve intersection where Railroad hits 1st street.
    • Install stoplight at Railroad and Nicholoff Way?
    • Add sidewalks in congested areas.

Boat Ramp Solutions

  • Current boat ramp area is very busy, congested and at times unsafe – but only for 1-2 relatively short periods per year.
  • Improve existing road/boat ramp area before building new.
  • Recognize that even if sidewalks are built kids won’t necessarily use them; need to be realistic about people’s tendency to take the shortest route from A to B.
  • Improve configuration and widen Nicholoff road next to ramp; create more space for rigs backing and out, and for pedestrians trying to squeeze by.
  • New boat ramp and associated facilities is planned at North Fill by Copper River Seafood; that should help relieve congestion at downtown boat launch.
  • Move boat ramp to south side of the harbor? Does this simply shift congestion? Would help if there was a one way road system on existing fill.
  • Ease pressure by adding new ramps, perhaps install sheet pile along extent of existing breakwater, would allow direct loading.
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