(Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire File)

(Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire File)

Opinion: Juneau needs more community events

Even though tourism brings cash flow into Juneau, tourism keeps locals out of downtown.

  • Monday, May 17, 2021 12:01pm
  • Opinion

By Dawn Dulebohn

The beginning of summer has me thinking fondly of community events in Juneau.

Previous Locals Days where tickets to Hoonah’s zip line were discounted and Allen Marine provided the transportation, the recent Slush Mush Dog Walk fundraiser benefiting Juneau Animal Rescue, and the upcoming Community Bike Day encouraging Juneau residents to get out and enjoy our gorgeous land. These kinds of events are a big part of why I love living in Juneau. One reason Juneau is so inviting is its sense of community. Have a fundraiser? Yup, we’ll support it. Want to do a public market? You’ve got buyers and seller lining up. Have an art exhibition? We will find a space to host. It warms my heart, brings people together, benefits a cause and supports our local economy.

The reason all the aforementioned events were possible is because there were no cruise ships in port in Juneau on those Saturdays. Having space and time in our downtown area just for locals allows us an opportunity to do things that enrich our lives and allows the residents of this beautiful city the chance to enjoy downtown and to create an infrastructure within our community of locals supporting locals. Otherwise saturated sidewalks are open, overbearing buses are non-existant, parking spots are plentiful, and residents from the Valley, Douglas and Downtown would have the option to shop, explore, and absorb what downtown has to offer. Imagine a flea market near Patsy Ann, a local carver’s exhibition in Marine Park, a scavenger hunt between your favorite downtown bars, or outdoor music in the space in front of Mount Robert’s Tramway. How nice would it be to be able to stroll down the docks with friends and pets on one of our sunny Saturday’s without dodging a barrage of tourists?

I think what some people forget is, even though tourism brings cash flow into Juneau, tourism keeps locals out of downtown. An over saturation of tourism discourages locals from coming anywhere near downtown and now it has become habit for most. If we, like Haines, could establish that our community is important and not playing second fiddle to large corporations, it would encourage Juneau residents to start coming back downtown and increase our quality of life.

Those that work and live downtown know that historically Saturdays are the least-populated ship day and normally only have a few large ships and a smattering of “little” ships that still amounts to about 15,000 extra people clogging up a very small space. A ship free Saturday would encourage Juneau to hold more local events downtown in the space normally overrun by cruisers. Before you rule out all of the Juneau Cruise Control initiatives because you’ve heard radio ads or seen a banner from a well-funded advertising campaign, I urge Juneau residents to think about the fact that there are three separate initiatives for signature: tranquil evenings, ship tonnage, and ship free Saturdays. You don’t have to sign all of them (although they all deserve to be on the upcoming ballot) to support one of them. Setting boundaries would gift residents of Juneau at least one day to enjoy our community and a ship free Saturday would do so much to support our community as a whole and help to reinforce why we love Juneau.

• Dawn Dulebohn is a Douglas homeowner. She has lived and worked in downtown in both hospitality and tourism fields. In 2010, she was awarded Princess Cruise Line’s Dock Representative of the Season. Dulebohn supports Juneau Cruise Control. Columns, My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire. Have something to say? Here’s how to submit a My Turn or letter.

More in Opinion

Have something to say?

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

The Tongass National Forest sign seen en route to the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: It’s time to compromise on the Roadless Rule

The Roadless Rule has become a fight over which wild exaggeration of the facts will prevail.

Opinion: Voting rights and the majority’s minority

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., is right to oppose H.R. 1, the “For the People Act.”

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Should we move forward or look back on cruise ship tourism?

The best solutions will always be attained by moving forward.

Corri A. Feige is commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources. Doug Vincent-Lang is commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.((Courtesy Photos)
Opinion: Alaskans should be good stewards of our home

Alaskans should be mindful of our responsibility to respect our common natural resources.

(Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Base PFD on resource revenue deposits, not percent of fund earnings

By Ray Metcalfe Almost daily, I read where some legislator is pontificating… Continue reading

Opinion: Sustaining Alaska’s fisheries through nonprofit hatcheries

You don’t need me to tell you that fishing is central to Alaskan life…

From left to right: Rep. Adam Wool, D-Fairbanks, U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, and Alaska State Sen. Josh Revak, R-Anchorage, in the hallway of the Alaska State Capitol following Sullivan’s address to the Legislature. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: The irony of Sen. Sullivan’s free speech defense

Jan. 6 commission vote undermines proposed free speech amendment.

This 2013 photo shows Juneau’s Capitol Disposal Landfill. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Cruise line debate is garbage

By Stuart Hallam A metaphor for the cruise lines view of Juneau?… Continue reading

Faith Myers stands at the doors of API. (Courtesy Photo)
Legislature should give psychiatric patients improved rights

Alaska is still too often warehousing people with a mental illness.