Juneau Mayor Beth Weldon. (Juneau Empire file photo)

Juneau Mayor Beth Weldon. (Juneau Empire file photo)

My Turn: Envisioning what a new municipal building means for the community for generations to come

When you ask people why they live in Juneau they may answer mountains, water or natural beauty, but most will say — or add — the people and the community.

Juneau has proven time and time again that we are indeed a community, and have come together more often than not. When the avalanche wiped out the power lines the people of Juneau united together, and brought our energy consumption down so far and so fast we have been the subject of many studies because of our success. During COVID-19 we chose to keep safe as a community. We chose to wash our hands and respect people’s personal space by standing away from each other. We gave to charities, to businesses and to each other to help us all get through. And just recently with the Mendenhall flood we banded together to help. As a community we all did our part. As an Assembly we passed an emergency declaration to trigger state funds (and our governor responded quickly). As CBJ we helped keep people safe and waived permits to allow people to keep their property safe. As neighbors we took people in, we helped clean up debris, we helped return lost items — including the cat — to their owners. As contractors we hauled rock and stabilized banks well into the night seven days a week. We all did our part as a community for the community.

As a community what does a new municipal building mean to the people of Juneau collectively? Answer: a new building that is not flashy, but will be an asset to the community. The Assembly may have not come here in the correct manner and the blame needs to fall on all of us, not just Mr. Bryson. Nevertheless, for just a moment, imagine with me.

Imagine that we, our friends and neighbors, walk into a welcome reception area and in one place we can pay bills, get permits, discuss plans, and meet with city employees. Imagine our visitors whether they are tourists or conducting business enter into a building that is not a confusing rabbit warren, more hallway than actual workspace, but instead an easy place to conduct business. Imagine a municipal building that is built to be energy efficient, making tracking energy consumption easy. Imagine a building with comfortable meeting spaces where the public can interact with the Assembly, boards and commissions with technology that actually works with good sound quality, and not any feedback or echoes. Imagine a building that helps bring the city together to be a better, more effective and more efficient part of this community we all live in. Imagine a community that has a municipal building we can all look at with pride and say that’s OUR City Hall.

Please join me in supporting a new City Hall not for the Assembly or for Mr. Watt, as we will all be gone by the time this building is built, but for all of us as a community and for our generations to come.

• Beth Weldon is the mayor of Juneau.

More in Opinion

Have something to say?

Here’s how to add your voice to the conversation.

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan addresses a joint session of the Alaska State Legislature in the House chambers on Feb. 7, 2023. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: Sen. Sullivan sinks to a new low

Last week, Sen. Dan Sullivan mimicked Donald Trump’s endless stream of baseless… Continue reading

Members of local business organizations greet cruise passengers with maps and other handouts as they disembark from the Norwegian Bliss on April 25, 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire file photo)
A call for collaboration, not restrictions on cruise ship tourism

Please don’t sign. I feel it is time to speak up about… Continue reading

Juneau School District Superintendent Frank Hauser provides an overview of restructuring options being considered during a Community Budget Input Session at Thunder Mountain High School on Jan. 31. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: Smearing school board members and the superintendent is vindictive and destructive

A school consolidation plan announced by the Juneau School District (JSD) has… Continue reading

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Letter: Gloomy predictions for ship-free days are a misleading scare tactic

“What? Only one day a week ship-free? Can’t we have Sundays too?”… Continue reading

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Letter: A day of rest from cruise ships is good for Juneau

A lot has been said about the Saturday free day from large… Continue reading

(City and Borough of Juneau photo)
My Turn: Property tax assessment and guardrails

The “money grab” by the CBJ Assessor’s Office is over with passage… Continue reading

Most Read