Anchorage mayor says downtown in a renaissance, but departing cafe’s fans disagree
Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson addressed the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce at the Dena’ina Center on Monday, delivering his annual State of the City address. Despite the recent snow-related disruptions and criticism, Bronson focused on issues such as homelessness, housing, port infrastructure, and energy security.
Acknowledging the frustration felt by residents due to the impact of record snowfall on daily life, businesses, schools, and road safety, Bronson reassured the community that the city is committed to improving its response to extreme weather events. He also highlighted the city’s efforts in downtown revitalization, pointing to increased parking downtown and the successful performance of “Hamilton” at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts.
However, this narrative of a downtown renaissance contradicts the recent announcement by Kaladi Brothers of the closure of their downtown cafe due to safety concerns. This has led to a perception that downtown is in decline, which Assembly Chair Chris Constant attributes to fear and a lack of effective policing due to high vacancy rates in the Anchorage Police Department.
Despite these challenges, both Constant and Bronson agree that there is hope and optimism for downtown Anchorage. Both also view the upcoming pay raise for Anchorage police officers as a positive step toward addressing these concerns.
Overall, Mayor Bronson’s State of the City address touched on important issues facing Anchorage, while also acknowledging the community’s frustrations and highlighting hopeful signs of progress and revitalization in the city.