The borough began accepting public comments related to funding an emergency shelter in Womens Bay.

A notice from the Kodiak Island Borough said that the project would have no significant impact on the environment and intending to request funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The borough requested and will be receiving $475,000 for the shelter from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. They’ve already received $1.025 million from the state legislature to fund the rest of the shelter, for a total cost of $1.5 million, according to borough project manager Matt Gandel.

The HUD funding has been approved already.

“Assuming that we or HUD doesn’t receive any real comments objecting, then we’ll apply for a release of that funding,” Gandel said.

The borough also it did not need to file an environmental impact statement with the Environmental Protection Agency because there would be no environmental impact.

The shelter would be located at 538 Sargent Creek Road and would be an addition onto the Womens Bay Firehouse.

The notice stated that the 700 residents that live in the Womens Bay area could be stranded without support services if an avalanche, landslide or tsunami were to wipe out Rezanof Drive West, the only road connecting Womens Bay to Kodiak.

In 2009, a mammoth rainfall sent mudslides down Pillar Mountain above Pier 2 that blocked the road for three days, cutting off access, Gandel said.

Another natural disaster — such as an earthquake or a mudslide — could strand the Women’s Bay population from emergency services in Kodiak.

The shelter would be able to house 100 people for up to five days during a natural disaster or emergency.

The borough arrived at that number partly through looking at available funding and partly calculating who would use it.

“A lot of people won’t go to a place like that, they’ll just tough it out,” Gandel said. “You try to figure out a reasonable number of people to expect in a situation like that.”

Right now, the shelter is in the design process. Gandel said the borough expects the design will be mostly complete by the end of the summer. They expect the project will go out to bid either this fall or early next year with construction starting in the spring.

The borough is planning to submit the funding request on July 22. The borough will accept written public comments regarding the project until July 21. They can be mailed to the Kodiak Island Borough, Attention Matt Gandel, 710 Mill Bay Road, Kodiak, AK 99615.

Objections can be submitted to HUD until 15 days after the 22nd or 15 days after HUD receives the request, whichever is later. Comments can be sent to HUD, Anchorage Field Office, 3000 C Street, Suite 401, Anchorage, AK 99503.

Contact Julie Herrmann at jherrmann@kodiakdailymirror.com.

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