Anchorage Assembly members have a big decision ahead of them about a controversial city development plan that could put part of the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail and Anchorage's Point Woronzof Park at risk.
The Assembly heard from dozens of people speaking out against the West Anchorage District Plan Tuesday night.
Even though nothing is set in stone in the plan, among the suggestions is a land swap that would involve giving Point Woronzof Park to the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in exchange for other land given to the city.
Last year, the airport manager said the new land could be used to build a new north-south runway to help deal with increased demand at Stevens International, but Tuesday airport manager John Parrott said that the airport has no current plans to build the runway.
"It did appear that at some point in the future the airport would need additional capacity," Parrott said. "Traffic is significantly down from those levels due to the global recession, and until we see some kind of turnaround, we are many years away from needing that kind of additional infrastructure."
But that assurance still doesn't sit well with members of the Turnagain Community Council, and some Assembly members who have been opposed to the idea of any land swap, because it could move the nearby coastal trail.
"It's really hard to go against what my constituents want, and I've gotten well over 100 emails and phone calls almost unanimously opposed to including Point Woronzof Park in a land exchange," said Harriet Drummond, an Assembly member for West Anchorage.
The Assembly did not make a decision about the plan at Tuesday's meeting, giving members more time to think it over.
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