Since discontinuing its economic development contract with the Chamber of Commerce earlier this year, the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly is now discussing ways it can fill the role. During Thursday’s work session, Assemblywoman Carol Austerman proposed the possibility of an economic development sub committee, perhaps in conjunction with the city and other borough communities around the archipelago.
Austerman said she and Assemblymen Frank Peterson and Aaron Griffin have discussed the idea for some time and would all be interested in serving on the committee.
“And we don’t have any ideas yet I don’t think about what that’s going to look like, but we wanted to put it in front of the assembly as a whole to kind of get the buy in before we started working with the city council.”
Assemblyman Dave Kaplan said he supported the idea fully, and thought it was important to include the villages in economic plans, because they have been overlooked in the past.
Assemblywoman Chris Lynch said the assembly has made a handful of visits to some of the villages in the past year and many expressed interest in being more involved with borough happenings.
“Well and I think the timing is right because people are interested. We have the villages and other cities wanting to participate so let’s grab the bull by the horns and start something.”
Austerman said hopefully including those outlying communities will also help with village tourism.
“I know that our tourism contract with Discover Kodiak does not include any village tourism and we’ve asked about that several times and there really hasn’t been any movement on their part to include them, as far as I’m aware. So that’s something that hopefully we can build that into this economic development piece as well.”
The possible joint subcommittee is set to be a discussion item during the borough assembly and city council’s joint work session in September. Austerman emphasized that the idea is a work in progress, with many details still needing to be worked out.