FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Denali National Park and Preserve officials hope to build something the park has never had before, an information center to welcome park visitors.
''There is nothing in there that really communicates the history of the region -- kind of the essence of the park,'' said superintendent Steve Martin.
The park service plans to build a complex within 200 feet of the Alaska Railroad train depot. There would also be a theater, a modest food service area, an art gallery and a place to buy limited merchandise like a raincoat or hat. The complex would be constructed on the site of the old 100-room Denali National Park Hotel, which is now nearly torn down.
Martin said the philosophy behind the proposed projects were included in the 1997 Environmental Impact Statement that called for the closure of the park hotel but development of other facilities for visitors.
The price tag for the plan is about $22 million, with about $8 million of that to come from the private sector as part of the concession opportunities. The remaining $14 million is to come from the federal government. Some $8.5 million has already been approved, and the remainder is expected in 2003.
Construction is slated to begin this summer, with the bulk of the work to occur through the early summer of 2004.
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