Matanuska-Susitna Borough

Assembly picks Point Mac for prison

Mat-Su | Patty Sullivan | Sunday, April 29, 2007

MAT-SU—By a unanimous vote last night, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly chose the Point MacKenzie area site for the $303 million prison.

Assembly Member Cindy Bettine offered amendments that were adopted. Among them: that an advisory committee of area landowners will address the concerns raised by the Point MacKenzie Community Council.

Those concerns include the protection of watershed and wildlife corridors, water quality and quantity, fire and emergency services. Bettine added the idea of maintaining traditional recreational uses.

"My intent is in making it go as far as planning a new community," Bettine said of the advisory group. The rural and remote site is without services such as gas, electric, and close fire protection. The chosen site is in Bettine's district.

For two hours, the Assembly listened to more than 30 people at the Central MAT-SU Public Safety Building. Those for and against the site were nearly divided, with a few more supporting the project being located at Point MacKenzie.

Some residents expressed concern about the water supply being inadequate. Community Development Director Ron Swanson said well drilling was purposely held off until the site was selected because of the expense. Drilling, he said, will begin by this weekend, and results may come in a week.

Last night's hearing was the seventh public hearing for the prison project. The public process began with 16 proposed sites and gathered more than 580 oral and written testimonies. A page on the Borough Web site is devoted to the project at

Last week some Assembly Members also visited three state prisons to learn how they operate and what community members think.

For questions, contact Patty Sullivan, public affairs manager at (907) 745-9577.