Port Lions wants to reopen burned cannery

Posted: Sunday, April 16, 2000

KODIAK (AP) -- Residents of Port Lions want to rebuild a cannery destroyed by fire nearly a quarter-century ago to provide jobs and a tax base for the Kodiak Island village.

The old Port Wakefield plant went up in flames in 1976. Its replacement would be a small processing plant that would do value-added processing, primarily of salmon.

Port Lions mayor Kevin Adkins said the threat of further state cutbacks in municipal assistance and revenue sharing has the village looking for ways to stay alive.

''It's time for us to make our own way,'' Adkins said. ''We have everything the City of Kodiak has short of paved roads, but we have no industry to support it.''

Port Lions, with a population of about 235, is roughly 20 miles northwest of Kodiak city.

The community has an advantage over other island villages since it has ferry service and a reliable source of electricity from the Kodiak Electric Association.

The infrastructure of the old Port Wakefield plant is still intact, including the foundation, pumps and water treatment equipment, according to Adkins.

The idea is only in the preliminary stages of development.

On Thursday, the Port Lions city council adopted a resolution to pursue funding for an economic feasibility study, according to city clerk Evelyn Mullan.

''It's still really early, but we're trying to begin some economic development,'' Mullan said. ''We don't want our community to wither and die.''

Debora King, an economic development specialist with the Kodiak Chamber of Commerce, said support is also needed from the Port Lions tribal council and village corporation.

Once that support is lined up, the Chamber of Commerce will help the community prepare a grant proposal for the economic feasibility study, she said.



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