A petition circulating around town this week asked the Haines Borough to suspend design work on the harbor expansion project to allow for more public review and “an economic analysis of the project as currently described.”

Tresham Gregg, an artist and lifelong resident, was circulating the petition.

“The borough says it’s already too late, but that’s not acceptable to the general public. If the project is going to be upsetting a lot of people, it’s not acceptable to continue it,” Gregg said. “There’s a group of local people concerned that our waterfront is being forever changed into a big parking lot and a commercial and industrial zone.”

Gregg acknowledged that the project “had been in the works for a long time” but said “people don’t keep up with everything.”

“This is our last opportunity to make sure every voice is heard and the borough is taking in all our concerns, including our town’s draw as a tourism destination,” Gregg said.

Gregg said he’s concerned that a $10 million shortfall in total project funding will fall on property taxpayers.

“There’s only talk of a three-acre dirt parking lot until the money miraculously appears and we can build the harbor facility everybody wants,” he said.

Parking options other than the one outlined in the plan should be considered, he said.

Planning commission chair Rob Goldberg said this week that concerns about the project’s parking lot can be addressed with landscaping. “We can make it nice.”

He also noted that the proposed parking lot would be at a lower elevation than Front Street, making it less noticeable.

In regard to the $10 million outstanding for planned improvements such as mooring floats, the borough could look at using mooring buoys as an interim measure for vessels to use the expanded basin. “I think we have an opportunity to be creative here.”

The Haines Borough Assembly recently advanced a 65 percent project design to PND Engineers. The company said it expects to return to Haines in May with a 95 percent design.

The borough was awarded $19.5 million in state funds for the first phase of the $30 million project. Borough officials have said that the municipality must spend the money on construction before July 2017.