Matanuska-Susitna Borough

4 sites on phase II list for prison project

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

PALMER—Eight sites have been narrowed to four sites this week in the search for suitable land for a prison project in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

The prison project requires a minimum of 160 usable acres. The cost of the overall prison project will be $303 million plus inflation.

The proposed sites still on the list are in the communities of Sutton, Houston, Point MacKenzie, and south Palmer.

At the open house meeting on Oct. 12, Phase II of the site selection process began.

The schedule for public hearings was pushed back to allow time for answering more of the technical questions.

  • Four public hearings will take place. The hearings are being rescheduled due to time conflicts with a convention in Juneau, which many local elected officials will be attending. The times will be announced Monday.
  • The public will have the chance to testify and submit written comments at these meetings.
  • The Phase II comment period has been extended until Nov. 24.
  • The Planning Commission meeting has been rescheduled to Dec. 4.
  • The site selection process will reach the Assembly on Jan. 16 as expected. The final site requires Assembly approval.

At the public open house on Oct. 12, about 150 people attended. At that time, eight out of an original 16 potential sites remained under consideration. Several questions were asked at that meeting, which are answered on the Borough Web site on the prison project page. Also, some 150 written comments were submitted on the proposed sites. Those will be posted online as soon as possible without names attached. A copy of the comments is available to view at the Borough.

After the October open house, the eight sites were narrowed to four proposed sites by completing all of the criteria in the Phase I matrix and by completing some of the criteria in the Phase II matrix. Public comment is given significant weight in the selection process. Information and opinion from the public will be considered alongside other determining factors. In Phase II, public comment has its own category. Two of the proposed sites in Meadow Lakes were dropped in this recent round of elimination because of a combination of conflicting factors, including public comment, adjacent land uses, and proposed uses in a comprehensive plan.

The four proposed sites still under consideration include one on private land and three on public land.

The site on private land is:

  • Palmer South, located south of Palmer near 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.

The three sites on public land are:

  • Houston- Zero Lake
  • Sutton - Glenn Highway Mile 58, at site of existing Palmer Correctional Center
  • Point MacKenzie - Alsop Road

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.

An Anchorage management company, RISE Alaska, conducted the open house on Oct. 12 and will also run the future public hearings.

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.

For more information on the prison project see the prison project Web page on the Borough site: Click on the prison icon to see maps, matrices, project descriptions, timelines, photos, among other items. For general information, contact Public Affairs Manager Patty Sullivan at (907) 745-9577.