Projects for FNSB Capital Improvement Program listed for public review

Published: Nov. 11, 2023 at 9:06 AM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Since its revival in 2019, the Fairbanks North Star Borough’s Capital Improvement Program, or CIP, has been used to fund projects like the renovation of the Noel Wien Library and the John Weaver Memorial Skatepark.

“Every single project that’s on our CIP list is community driven. It’s nominated from someone within the community. It’s reviewed and vetted by our staff,” said Assembly Member Savannah Fletcher.

Now, it’s being updated for the second time.

This fall, the call went out to the community asking what people would like to see added to the program. 124 submissions were received, some from borough staff, others from the school district, and and about a quarter from the community itself. “These are long-term maintenance updates, new buildings we’d want to see, improvements to our existing facilities,” Fletcher explained.

From there, the Public Works Department narrowed down the submissions to a list of 54 new project proposals. Those, combined with projects that have to be re-submitted, are scheduled to go in front of the assembly.

Interested members of the public will have the opportunity to testify before the group, letting their preferences be known, on December 14. According to Fletcher, “This really should be a community-driven process.”

On that night, the assembly is scheduled to present their final list of projects they’d like to see. Public Works will analyze these approved endeavors for cost estimates. “Once we get those costs set, then we come back in February, and that’s when we start prioritizing with a more realistic budget,” she said.

Fletcher said when making a decision on which projects to support, “I rely a lot on the public and on staff input.”

She also considers two basic factors when choosing projects. “Is it a critical safety need? For example, there are certain school buildings that need to have upgrades, and I don’t want to see schools shut down.”

“But also projects that have a lot of community excitement and forward thinking,” Fletcher added.

Every year, between allocations from the budget and interest from the fund itself, around 14 to 15 million dollars is made available for the program.

This must be divided among both large- and small-scale undertakings. Fletcher said, “You could only do so many big projects each year. So if we add every single project to our Capital Improvement Program list, it’s going to be going out for the next couple decades of our projects that we’re planning to fund.”

A full list of the projects being considered can be found here.