do we have to allow Juneau to stay the way it is? (Anchorage: daycare, hotel)
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So what if they do? They are doing it together...Some of the local shops may close because they make enough during the season, or would go under if they stayed open off season...Maybe some kind of a joint venue to stay open rather than individual shops if they choose....
Well, I know where half of Juneau was gathered this weekend:
Photos: Getting new gear at the ski swap - Juneau Empire (http://www.juneauempire.com/slideshows/110710/732535827/slide2.shtml - broken link)
I used to love the ski swap when I was a kid. I think that's the biggest one that I have personally ever seen! I haven't thought about them in years. I hope to introduce my kid to some better quality skiing in AK then we have here in SE WI. Maybe then he will enjoy it more.
Most of the people employed by the tourism industry in Alaska are from out of state, quite a few of the companies are not only from out of state but from outside of the U.S.
Stiff actually got something right in a previous post where he made mention of the jewelry stores and wishing that there could perhaps be a greater number of locally owned enterprises instead of the masses of trinket shops that the port cities seem to be infested with.
Most local business people just can't afford the storefronts anymore; those jewelry stores will pay some pretty huge bucks for them. I know people in Skagway who've had to close up because they simply could not compete--people who lived there year round and didn't follow the ships to the Caribbean like a flock of vultures sometime during the last week in September.
As far as Juneau staying the way it is now....well, it didn't get that way overnight. But it's encouraging to see local residents here giving a damn about the quality of their community.
Juneau is the perfect tourist town. It's isolated, small, surrounded by gorgeous scenery, and perfectly positioned for cruise ships. It just so happens that Alaska also decided it should be the state capital.
There are opportunities for locals in all of these port cities. It does take time effort and energy. I worked for the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary in Ketchikan during their inaugural year the summer of 2004. 100% locally owned. 2 partners came up with an idea and made it happen. Since then they have added the very popular Alaska Canopy Adventures(ziplines) in Ketchikan and Juneau. Say what you want about that stuff but the tourists eat it up and these guys are making money. Some of their employees are local and those that aren't are college students. Too much for me to try and figure out on my own. But the opportunities are there...
The first time I visited Juneau what stood out for me was the fact that they have no restaurants outside of the major hotels. I knew it was a town that catered to tourism, but it did not dawn on me until later that the reason there are no restaurants is because all the tourists eat aboard their cruise ships.
Juneau residents, and non-cruise ship visitors, have to make due with little hole-in-the-wall places like "Bullwinkle's Pizza Palor", or the "Sandpiper Cafe", or "Tracy's King Crab Shack" or "bar-&-grills" that serve a limited selection of food with their booze, or go to the major hotels and get over-charged.
You will not find a single familiar restaurant chain anywhere in Juneau, no Denny's, no Red Robin, no TGI Fridays, no Chili's, no IHOP. Not that it is a bad thing, it is just a bit unusual. There are a lot of pizza places, however, so if pizza is your favorite food, you're in luck.
I have one piece of advice for those wishing to visit Juneau: Pack a lunch!
No one said there weren't "opportunities" for locals, Stiff. The Rainforest place is pretty cool, from what I saw anyway. There's still some local stuff left in Skagway as well, though not much anymore, really. Skagway pretty much sold it's own soul to the offshore jewelry companies, and now it ain't selling much of anything besides "Faked Alaska". Always makes me laugh when I see a sign advertising "Alaskan Tanzanite".
Nonetheless, the average local in the port cities doesn't have the capital to compete with these jewelry stores.
I guess it's easy for some to say to "stay out of downtown in the cruise season if you don't like it", but some of us recall when "downtown" was a decent and fun place to be no matter what time of year.
Those are very thoughtful comments. I guess I can't really know what we can change or which direction change should be in. In the 1970's it was easy to go town, find several comfortable cafes with maybe the regular greasy-spoon fair but food you could eat (we don't even have any normal greasy-spoon cafe's here anymore, except for maybe Donna's and the Valley Restaurant but they are definitely not downtown) and you could just walk somewhere and maybe sit if you wanted to and it was sunny, but the town was smaller then and who would have seen it coming what kind of place to live this would become?
When I moved out of Juneau for a number of years I saw things can be way different, the difference is the people who live in the community are the ones who matter. Tourism can live hand-in-hand with that, trust me I've seen it.
There are many strange things about Juneau.
The heart and soul thing being tied in with the word "liveability." There's no reason to go anywhere in particular downtown, unless you want bad food, alcohol, or you are a tourist being herded like a cow up the two blocks of "downtown." Do they realize that if there were not in the streets it would look like a ghost-town?
I am digressing there, but I think alot of them 'get it.' Let me put it this way, which should maybe be a different thread. If you don't have much money, and I mean month-to-month cost of living matches the best you can dish out, it is not a great place to live. It is a very difficult place to escape from as well.
The City does not care what the residents want, I think we all pretty much agree on that part. Part of a liveable town is, for me, being able to take a walk and enjoy being where I am, maybe be able to take a walk to a destination I feel like going to, maybe being able to see other people at a destination that people commonly walk to, like a nice little cafe, or a park, or even a bench on a sunny day, those are ALL things I found outside of Juneau but can't find here.
I feel like we need a sign: "Welcome to No Stopping or Standing Juneau."
Sorry I sound so negative about the whole thing. I am a big girl and I know I have to make my own choices and I choose to stay here for nor for specific reasons. But I am not an effective 'mover-and-shaker' so I keep wishing someone else would be -- if I find you I promise I will HELP you move and shake, if someone else leads the way.
Yes, I like the folk festival and the gyms and hikes. I think you said something I didn't realize until you said it -- this town is transient, with people breezing in and out and people living here long-term with some financial security, well, they can enjoy the good and go "outside" for while when they want to enjoy some of the better.
But I think if enough people agree we want to change certain things, the topic of my thread will be a possibility for change rather than just a negative statement.
I first saw Juneau in 1970. And I was too young to really explore the town for a few years after that, so maybe things weren't quite as good as they seemed. . . . .
Originally Posted by juneaubound
Where do people gather? I've seen people gather at the folk festival and the maritime festival and the UAS community days festival and the community yard sale and down at Marine Park and Eaglecrest and the pool and the gyms and in smaller numbers at coffee shops and for group hikes and group bike rides and various family/church/social functions at beaches around the area to name a few off the top off my head.
You said that the heart and soul of this town has been ripped out and thrown away, and I would be interested to know what you mean by that. I don't ask that in any kind of negative way because I have only been in Juneau for 10 months, so don't know what this city looked like before tourism became such a dominant force here.
This town is extremely transient - politicians blow in and out of here, tourists blow in and out of here, seasonal workers blow in and out of here, even people who move here intending to make it their home and stay end up blowing in and out of here. What kinds of things would you like to see that would change the focus of the city from tourist to......something else? How do you get buy-in for that from other citizens and from the local government? What should the city be doing to encourage people to move and stay and build their homes and lives here in Juneau? How much money DOES the tourist season provide to the city, and what would replace that money? Are the priorities the city dedicates the taxpayers money to the same priorities the taxpayers want their money dedicated to? If not, why not?
What does Juneau want to be when it grows up? I don't think that it really knows.
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