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City Cancels Plan for Kincaid Homeless Treatment Center

Published On: Dec 24 2013 06:34:19 AM AKST   Updated On: Oct 09 2013 01:33:28 PM AKDT

A new substance abuse treatment center for the homeless in the Kincaid area will no longer be on the table as Mayor Dan Sullivan announced the project was canceled.

When the federal government made 131 acres of land in the Sand Lake neighborhood available to Anchorage for potential development last March, Mayor Dan Sullivan jumped at the chance to develop a treatment facility to reduce the city's homeless population.

But nearby neighbors also pounced on the plan many of them blasting it, some feared the presence of homeless people would pose a threat to their quality of life.

"This just kind of started out as a little Facebook revolution, and getting little messages out to friends and neighbors, and all the user groups, and I think this just shows how passionate the Sand Lake residents are about both this community and this park," said Angie Burris, of the group Friends of Kincaid Park.

On Monday evening, hundreds attended a meeting at Sand Lake Elementary to share their concerns with the city. Right before the meeting, Mayor Sullivan announced the project’s price tag, $50 to $80 million, as the main reason why the city will pursue smaller projects.

"Some folks think that this was for chronic inebriates or that it was a homeless camp - it was neither of the above," Mayor Sullivan said.  "This was for people who were sober, who want to get back into the workforce."

The facility would have been located in two separate buildings on the north and south sides of Raspberry Road, in what is now the old FCC building.  City planners envisioned it as a multi-service campus for those at-risk of or already homeless.  

Burris says regardless of whom was living in the center, its existence would not be in accordance with the West Anchorage District Plan, which she says was adopted by the Anchorage Assembly in 2012.

"What that means is responsible airport development to the north and park land on the south and that is what we'll absolutely continue to fight for," Burris said.

For the Municipality, it's back to the drawing board.  Mayor Sullivan says city planners may consider fixing up existing buildings in town and turning them into a treatment center for homeless people.

The airport was the only other entity to bid on the surplus lands and with the city backing out, it's likely the surplus property will go to the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.