South Fork Residents discuss air quality, capital projects, and community patrol
The South Fork Community Council was briefed on air quality issues, capital improvement projects and Eagle River crime activity at its Feb. 1 meeting at Eagle River High.
Air quality and ballot issues
Assemblywoman Amy Demboski discussed the amount of methane emissions she has noticed while passing the Anchorage Landfill. She said has smelled the methane and felt nauseous while passing the landfill on the Glenn Highway, an occurrence echoed by attendees.
The landfill emits methane when holes are dug through layers of trash. The gases are captured from the landfill and sold by the municipality to generate power. However, the landfill is producing more methane than originally anticipated and gases not captured are released into the air.
Demboski pointed out that the Cook Inlet Region Inc., which manages the operation for the municipality, is complying with state and local laws regarding emissions. While not a proven health concern, Demboski said she is concerned about the detrimental impact excessive methane odor might have on the value of local homes.
She encouraged residents to contact Anchorage’s Solid Waste Services if they believe they smell excessive methane near the landfill.
“My hope is that every time residents smell methane that they call Solid Waste Services,” she said, because Solid Waste Services wants to hear reports from the public to better understand how to mitigate issues. Reports of methane should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or called in to 907-343-6250.
Demboski also emphasized that the Anchorage Assembly is rewriting city ordinance Municipal Code Chapter 15.30, which deals with air quality. If implemented, it could impact homeowners using wood stoves as their sole means of heating with potential fines and fees rising to $1,000 if they are out of compliance. She encouraged residents to attend the Assembly’s open forum on Feb 13 to discuss their concerns.
Capital Improvement Projects
Mark Littlefield, general foreman of Eagle River Street Maintenance, informed attendees that the current funds allocated for overlay paving will become more available within a few years for other capital improvement projects. Starting six years ago, ERSM had 118 miles of overlay to cover and only 18 miles remain. Overlaying roads with 1.5 inches of asphalt will nearly double the road’s life to 20 to 25 years while simplifying repairs.
With the project nearing completion, ERSM is considering how to spend the freed funds in Eagle River’s capital improvement project budget of $1.1 million. Littlefield urged Eagle River residents to submit ideas for capital improvement projects to ERSM.
Eagle River Community Patrol
Cliff Cook of Eagle River’s Community Patrol reported that his patrol has seen very little recent criminal activity in the South Fork area.
Between two patrol cars in January, the patrol logged 83.5 hours and drove over 700 miles as they patrolled the community on the lookout for suspicious activity.
Cook intends to recruit 5 to 6 additional volunteers for the patrol and instructed those willing to donate to make checks out to the Federation of Community Councils with an annotated note designating it for the Eagle River Community Patrol. A background check is required to join the ERCP.
Council Chairman Karl von Luhrte was pleased with the meeting and was encouraged to see six Eagle River High School students attend the meeting. He said, “Improving your neighborhood and your community,” is the main reason he would recommend others become involved with their community council.
SFCC’s next meeting will be March 1 at Eagle River High School.