Clock tower repairs underway

Monday, May 22, 2017 - 21:07

The clock tower in Chief Alex Park is being repaired, but it’s going to take some time.

An electrician with Northstar Electric Company climbed a ladder to the 16-foot tower Monday to get a look at the 11-year-old clock’s inner workings. He said the company has an idea what’s ailing the electric clock, and the company is in the process of ordering parts for its repair.

“Hopefully it’ll be sooner rather than later,” said Northstar’s Joel Williams.

Williams said the parts should take a couple weeks to arrive. The company will also replace some old wiring that may be contributing to problems with the clock, which as experienced several outages over the years. Northstar has been in contact with the manufacturer, and Williams said he’s confident the clock can be fixed.

“We’re just trying to do what we can,” he said.

Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce executive director Dana Thorp-Patterson said the clock has been an ongoing source of frustration and has needed frequent repairs. Typically, issues crop up in the wintertime. The clock’s most recent outage — one of several time-altering episodes in its history — was first observed earlier this winter.

And when the clock stops telling the right time, people notice.

“Every time it breaks we get calls from the public,” she said.

The clock was installed in the park in 2006 and is a big source of pride for locals, she said.

“It’s a pretty thing to see the first thing as you drive into town,” she said of the clock, which occupies a prime spot alongside the Old Glenn Highway near the Eagle River Road intersection.

Patterson said numerous local groups have an interest in both the clock and the small downtown park itself. Sponsors include ConocoPhillips and BP, and she said MEA, MTA and Northrim Bank always help plant flowers in the spring. This year, the chamber is hoping to plant flowers in the park by June 1 — if not sooner.

“The goal would be before Memorial Day,” she said of the Monday, May 29 holiday.

She said the chamber is planning its annual park clean-up on Friday, May 19. In addition to tidying up the park, group of local volunteers and cadets from the Alaska Military Youth Academy, will work the soil, trim shrubs, and get the park ready for flowers.

As for the clock tower, Patterson said the prominent landmark means a lot to community members, and she’s hopeful a permanent fix can be found.

“People are really proud of that park and that clock.”

Email Star editor Matt Tunseth at editor@alaskastar.com

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