KETCHIKAN (AP) The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority is considering retaining ownership of the Ketchikan Shipyard instead of selling the facility to local governments.
AIDEA's board of directors agreed with staff recommendations to talk with the city of Ketchikan and Ketchikan Gateway Borough about AIDEA keeping the shipyard, at least until a $10 million shiplift project is completed.
Another recommendation is to develop a long-term plan for AIDEA's continued ownership of the shipyard.
Thursday's meeting appears to mark a change in direction for the AIDEA board, which voted last June to sell or lease shipyard to the city and borough. A year ago they voted to try to sell it to the community, said City Mayor Bob Weinstein on Friday.
Borough Mayor Mike Salazar said thee borough supports AIDEA retaining ownership of the shipyard.
''I don't think the communities are interested in buying anything right now, anyway,'' Salazar told the AIDEA board.
One explanation for the potential shift is AIDEA has a new board and executive director, said Doug Ward, shipyard development director for Alaska Ship and Drydock, the Ketchikan-based company that operates the shipyard.
''They're working hard to understand the project and find the best solution for Ketchikan,'' Ward said.
AIDEA received ownership of the Ketchikan Shipyard from the Alaska Department of Transportation in 1997. In June, the AIDEA board voted unanimously to sell or lease the shipyard to the city and borough.
The local governments were required to agree to negotiate such a deal in order for AIDEA to extend Alaska Ship and Drydocks contract to operate the shipyard until October 2003 or until the shiplift project was completed. The contract was set to expire in October 2002.
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