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Road improvements, Makushin geothermal and dredging top Unalaska’s list of capital projects

Some projects discussed at the March 26 city council meeting span multiple years.
Hope McKenney
Some projects discussed at the March 26 city council meeting span multiple years.

The City of Unalaska’s ongoing capital projects were laid out at a city council meeting on March 26. Public Works Director Scott Brown spoke in-depth about plans for a slate of 40 active and funded projects.

Some of those projects span multiple years. One of the biggest is bringing pavement and utilities to Captains Bay Road, which has been among the city’s top priorities for years. That infrastructure has become even more pressing with the planned development of Trident Seafoods’ proposed plant on Captains Bay.

Other priorities are the Makushin Geothermal Project, entrance channel dredging in Iliuliuk Bay and improvements to the Bobby Storrs Small Boat Harbor. A few projects have already wrapped up or are in the final stages, like library improvements.

Councilmember Shari Coleman raised concerns about spending, saying that while the city’s financial health is stable now, the future remains unclear. A volatile fishing market could prove challenging for budgeting in years to come.

“When you start a project, you have to look farther down the line, and you have to look at other years,” Coleman said. “I know our fiscal health looks pretty decent right now, but if anybody is paying attention to fisheries and the state of the industry, it isn't quite so rosy.”

Councilmember and Vice Mayor Alejandro “Bong” Tungul acknowledged Coleman’s concerns but suggested that time is of the essence.

“We have to protect the infrastructure that we have, and we have to keep moving,” Tungul said. “We have to have a plan. At least right now, we're still doing good.”

In a memo to the council dated March 20, Brown emphasized his team’s efforts to keep project completion within designated timelines and budgets.

As of the end of February, over $41 million was available for the city’s active projects.

Born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina, Andy Lusk is a writer, travel enthusiast and seafood aficionado who won the jackpot by landing in Unalaska/Dutch Harbor. When he's not hiking or working on his latest story, you can find him curled up with his cats and a good book. Andy is a Report for America corps member and an alumnus of New York University.
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