Mary Siah Maintenance

The pool is drained for cleaning as maintenance is done at the Mary Siah Recreation Center Thursday afternoon, March 21, 2019. Work being done includes routine maintenance and cleaning as well as new windows, new lobby flooring, and painting. The facility is scheduled to reopen Monday, April 8.

The assembly will discuss repairs at schools, parks and other public buildings — along with ideas for new facilities, such as a $107 million indoor sports complex — on Thursday when the panel reviews the mayor’s preferred projects for a capital improvement plan.

A list of 66 projects, winnowed from 94 qualified nominations and submitted by North Star Borough Mayor Bryce Ward, comes before the assembly’s Finance Committee.

The projects are big and small, with proposals for new roofs, new restrooms, new park pavilions and new buildings, such as a $17 million animal shelter. The list includes more than $75 million of school projects and more than $60 million in improvements at area parks and recreation areas.

“There are a lot of great things on this list at a variety of price points,” said Assemblywoman Leah Berman Williams, chairwoman of the Finance Committee. “There is going to be a back and forth between the mayor’s office and the assembly several times before we say, ‘This is what we’re going to fund.’”

The project with the biggest price tag is $107 million for a sports complex that would replace the Hamme Pool and Mary Siah Recreation Center and offer “indoor field sports, indoor playgrounds, a skate park, to include privately available party space, concession space, physical therapy, child care, etc.,” according to the project description.

The most modest project on the list is $100,000 for removing and storing dioramas currently inside the S.S. Nenana, which is closed to tours for safety reasons, at Pioneer Park. Restoration of the Nenana has also been proposed.

The assembly has managed to steer about $26.5 million so far into a facilities maintenance account.

The process of vetting each project for possible inclusion in a capital improvement plan is expected to take months. The assembly is being asked to select projects to be scored and ranked by the borough administration.

Ward has led the process so far. He opened nominations to the public and compiled the ideas being presented to the assembly.

“We got down to the current number of projects through consideration of borough powers and the overall reflection of how the projects fit together,” Ward said in an email.

“Once the scopes have been approved, we will score them and see which ones rise to the top of the list,” the mayor wrote.

“I look forward to a robust discussion with the assembly on Thursday,” he said. “We have prepared a 30-minute video going over the projects that we will share with the assembly and the community on Thursday. We plan on uploading all of this information on the website,”

The projects to be discussed include $8.5 million worth of repairs and upgrades at the borough administrative center, $2 million worth of improvements at the borough rifle range and $500,000 for signs welcoming people to the borough as they enter from the Parks and Richardson highways.

The list includes $2 million for an addition at the library in North Pole and $15 million for an addition and other improvements at the Carlson Center.

Also proposed is an $18.2 million upgrade to a pending new public transit garage and $12 million for a new maintenance shop for the parks and recreation department.

A new plaza in the field next to the Noel Wien Public Library is proposed along with $2.5 million worth of playground upgrades at Pioneer Park to include a zipline.

See the list of projects here:

Contact staff writer Amanda Bohman at 459-7545. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMborough.