Federal money will go toward raptor center

Posted: Monday, March 31, 2003

JUNEAU (AP) Federal money secured by Sen. Ted Stevens will go toward helping injured eagles, owls and ravens at a new perch near the Brotherhood Bridge.

The $350,000 will enable the city to purchase 10.5 acres of private land in the Mendenhall Valley. The property, which is near the Kaxhdighoowu Heen trail and the Mendenhall River, will be used for a bird rehabilitation clinic and nature education center.

The Juneau Raptor Center, the Trust for Public Land and the city have been working with Stevens' office on the acquisition for three years.

The land offers a permanent place to treat injured birds and educate the public, said Sandy Harbanuk, president of the Juneau Raptor Center. Volunteers now care for about 225 injured birds a year in local homes, garages and backyard pens, she said.

We are so excited about this,'' she said. It will be a more regular and easier thing for our volunteers ... and a phenomenal expansion of our education mission.''

The Juneau Raptor Center has decided to call the new facility the Alaska Coastal Wildlife Center. After the land acquisition is complete, the nonprofit can concentrate on raising funds for a building, Harbanuk said.

The center is expected to cost $5 million to $6 million to build, with the rehabilitation clinic and education center in two separate buildings.

The Trust has an option to purchase the property and will be working with the city over the next few months to complete the sale.

City Lands Manager Steve Gilbertson said the property would become park land, with a special use designation for the bird center. The next step will be for the city to accept the funding from the U.S. Forest Service, he said.

We'll have to enter into a lease with the raptor center for what they need, he said. The lease will be at a nominal cost because they're a nonprofit.''



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