Front Street is a small, community enclave important to the town’s diversity and integrity.

When I turn off Main Street and enter Front Street I immediately feel things slow down. There are locals working in their shops, hanging gillnets, digging into outboard motors, working on their cabins, visiting with each other on their porches. There are tourists walking with maybe just a little more interest, roused by the diversity of people and place, living real lives in a real Alaska town.

Front Street is also a rich, biological wetland. It is a sacred Native cultural site – home of the Raven House, Austin Hammond and the Chilkoot Nation. Front Street is a mixing zone of the past and the present in a quiet, unassuming neighborhood.

I am concerned that the integrity of Front Street is endangered by a proposed large-scale commercial development which has no place in this unique, residential zone.

Any development that takes place on the waterfront of Front Street should be planned with neighborhood compatibility and the utmost care. Business and economic interests are essential to our survival. However, when business interests supercede quality of life and integrity of community, the red flag needs to be raised.

We have only one chance in our lives to do what is right. Any decisions made in haste without careful consideration of the values of our community will only be another tear in the fabric of who we are as a community and this amazing, precious place we call home.

Tom Faverty