Port Director Carl Uchytil hands oversized scissors toTravel Juneau President & CEO Liz Perry during a ceremony to open the new Visitor’s Center Kiosk in front of the downtown Juneau Public Library on Friday, May 17, 2019. Numerous events celebrated infrastructure improvements by the City and Borough of Juneau Docks & Harbors Department this week. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Port Director Carl Uchytil hands oversized scissors toTravel Juneau President & CEO Liz Perry during a ceremony to open the new Visitor’s Center Kiosk in front of the downtown Juneau Public Library on Friday, May 17, 2019. Numerous events celebrated infrastructure improvements by the City and Borough of Juneau Docks & Harbors Department this week. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

The first place 1.4 million tourists might stop downtown is brand new

Ribbon cutting held for ‘sexy’ new Visitor’s Center kiosk

Infrastructure got some fanfare.

A ribbon cutting for a new Visitor’s Center kiosk directly in front of the Downtown Public Library Friday afternoon brought Juneau’s Infrastructure Week to a close with song, speeches and free hot dogs.

Gary Gillette, port engineer for City and Borough of Juneau Docks & Harbors, said while a lot of the facilities and services celebrated since Monday, May 13 were described as “not sexy” the new, blue structure is an exception.

“This project, it’s got a sexy look to it,” Gillette said.

Sherry Patterson sings the National Anthem during a ceremony to open the new Visitor’s Center Kiosk in front of the downtown Juneau Public Library on Friday, May 17, 2019. Numerous events celebrated infrastructure improvements by the City and Borough of Juneau Docks & Harbors Department this week. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Sherry Patterson sings the National Anthem during a ceremony to open the new Visitor’s Center Kiosk in front of the downtown Juneau Public Library on Friday, May 17, 2019. Numerous events celebrated infrastructure improvements by the City and Borough of Juneau Docks & Harbors Department this week. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Infrastructure Week is a national celebration organized by the American Society of Civil Engineers that shines a spotlight on developments such as roads, wires, pipes and wastewater stations that make life a lot easier.

“It’s something we shouldn’t take for granted, but we do,” said Carl Uchytil, port director for Docks & Harbors.

Gillette said while the new building, which will house Travel Juneau volunteers when it opens, is especially visible, it took unseen pipes and wires to make it possible.

[Juneau kicks off infrastructure week]

Corey Wall, architect and partner with Jensen Yorba Wall, Inc., said that underground work near the docks is difficult and interesting.

Travel Juneau President & CEO Liz Perry cuts the ribbon during a ceremony to open the new Visitor’s Center Kiosk in front of the downtown Juneau Public Library on Friday, May 17, 2019. Numerous events celebrated infrastructure improvements by the City and Borough of Juneau Docks & Harbors Department this week. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Travel Juneau President & CEO Liz Perry cuts the ribbon during a ceremony to open the new Visitor’s Center Kiosk in front of the downtown Juneau Public Library on Friday, May 17, 2019. Numerous events celebrated infrastructure improvements by the City and Borough of Juneau Docks & Harbors Department this week. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

“There’s just many layers of different docks and stuff,” Wall said. “It was like an archaeological dig.”

The building’s interior is about 90 square feet, Wall said, and it’s large, overhanging roof was designed with keeping people out of the rain in mind.

Uchytil said the project cost about $164,000 to construct and was paid for using dock funds. It replaces a building that was 50 years old and did not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Despite the ribbon cutting, the kiosk is not yet open for business.

[Juneau’s air quality is being tracked in real time]

Travel Juneau President and CEO Liz Perry said they’re still waiting for some interior work to be finished before volunteers will be ready to greet folks off the docks. She said that should be done within the next few weeks.

There is also an empty spot on top of a steeple that extends from one corner of a building that will eventually be adorned with a light-up display with the international information symbol so some of the 1.4 million tourists Juneau expects know where to go to get information.

“It’ll be open soon, and we’re looking forward to it,” Perry said.


• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.


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