Matanuska-Susitna Borough

Eight potential sites for prison

Mat-Su | Patty Sullivan | Monday, December 18, 2006

PALMER— When the public turns out for an open house this Thursday (Oct. 12), eight possible sites for a future prison will be open to scrutiny.

Five sites are on publicly-owned land. Three sites are on privately-owned land. The eight sites were evaluated with the same criteria and found acceptable at this point in the screening process. Originally 16 sites were considered.

The three sites on private land include:

  • Palmer South is 160 acres of a larger 480-acre parcel located south of Palmer in the vicinity of the Old Matanuska Townsite, the Palmer Hay Flats State Game Refuge and the gravel pits located along the Glenn Highway. It is owned by a construction company.
  • Goose Bay is made up of Mental Health Trust Land and general state land. The site is located near the Goose Bay airstrip on land that was a former Nike Site and was used for a short time as a prison. There are three Mental Health Trust parcels that total 320 acres.
  • Houston West is two parcels of Mental Health Trust Land totaling 625 acres.

The five sites on public land are:

  • Zero Lake- Houston (24 miles from Parks/Glenn interchange)
  • Knik-Goose Bay (18 miles from interchange)
  • Pittman Road- Wasilla (13 miles from interchange)
  • Mile 58- Sutton (24 miles from interchange)
  • Point MacKenzie (about 36 miles from interchange)

The prison is a joint project between three public entities, the Alaska Department of Corrections, the MAT-SU Borough, and the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation. The overall prison project is estimated to cost about $330 million.

For more information on the prison project see the new prison project Web page on the Borough site: Click on the prison icon.

An open house will be held on Oct. 12, from 6 pm to 8:30 pm, at the Wasilla Sports Center. Contractors for the state will be hosting the meeting. Officials from Corrections, AHFC, and the MAT-SU Borough will be attending. The open house will begin at 6 pm, followed by a short presentation on the site selection process at 7 pm. We encourage residents to give written comments. Comment forms will be at the meeting as well as online. The first comment period deadline is Oct. 20.

Opportunities to testify will occur at subsequent open houses. Additionally, the Borough Planning Commission and Assembly will hold public hearings.

An Anchorage management company, RISE Alaska, will be conducting the open houses. A Seattle design firm, DLR Group, is overseeing early design work and site selection.

Public comment will be given significant weight in the selection process. Information and opinion from the public will be considered alongside other determining factors. The final site requires Assembly approval.

For overall project information contact AHFC's Project Manager Stuart Barrows (907) 330-8118. For more information on sites, contact MAT-SU Community Development Director Ron Swanson (907) 745-9631; for state Dept. of Corrections, contact Facilities Manager Ted Kinney (907) 269-7361. For financing questions, contact MAT-SU Finance Director Tammy Clayton (907) 745-9630. The prison page of the MAT-SU Borough Web site holds extensive information as well, including maps, matrices, project descriptions, timelines, photos, among other items. For general information, contact Public Affairs Manager Patty Sullivan at (907) 745-9577.