By AlaskaWatchman.com

The Anchorage Assembly voted 10-2 on Aug. 9 to award another $51 million in federal Covid funds to local businesses and non-profits. The unprecedented monetary giveaway comes thanks to the Biden Administration’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which was pitched as a way to help fight the economic impact of Covid. In reality, the money has gone to myriad local pet projects that include artwork, storytelling, LGBTQ affirming medical treatments, childcare expansion, low-income housing, critical race theory advocacy, bike trail expansion, new clubhouses, Masonic Lodge activity, beetle kill projects, Wi-Fi access and much, much more.

To date, the Anchorage Assembly has divvied up $214 million in federal relief funds to local groups.

Acting Assembly Chairman Christopher Constant said the giveaway was a “unique opportunity and responsibility to do as much good in the community as possible.”

It turns out that “good” will be an extravagant taxpayer-funded boon for many nonprofits in Alaska’s largest city.

The Assembly received more than 160 funding requests. Of these, 72 were deemed worthy of support. A notice from the Assembly said the winning projects focus on economic resilience, enhancing the city as a destination spot, and making “all parts of our city vibrant and welcoming.”

Funded projects include the following:

— $70,000 to Youth Exploring Adventure to purchase a surface conveyor lift at Hilltop Ski Area

— $40,000 for the Anchorage Park Foundation’s Indigenous Place Names Project

— $11.9 million for the purchase and conversion of hotels for affordable housing.

— $8.4 million to Childcare Connection for “stabilizing activities” of childcare providers in Anchorage.

— $4.5 million to Cook Inlet Housing Authority to develop low-income housing.

— $2.37 million to Covenant House for vocational training and stable housing.

— $1.9 million to Volunteers of America-Alaska to expand mental health services in schools

— $1.6 million for a childcare facility in Girdwood.

— $1.3 million to the Alaska Black Caucus to renovate its Equity Center.

— $771,000 to improve South Potter Marsh Visitors Site

— $525,000 to Chugach Mountain Bike Riders for bike trails

— $425,000 to Camp Fire Alaska for summer youth programs

— $350,000 to Gamers Sports Travel for construction of a new field house

— $330,000 to Umoja Coworking & Incubator for BIPOC and ESL communities

— $300,000 to Identity, Inc. for health clinic expansion

— $250,000 to Arctic Heat Softball for upgrades to the Chugiak softball fields

— $90,000 to Anchorage Ski Club for summer visitor services at Arctic Valley Trail.

— $50,000 to Anchorage Library Foundation for the ongoing Alaska Room project

— $50,000 to Girl Scouts for expanding youth opportunities

— $50,000 to Anchorage Glacier Pilots to replace the clubhouse

— $29,995 to the Prince Hall Grand Lodge Masons for fraternal organization support

— $25,000 to Nordic Skiing Association for technology and equipment upgrades

— $22,000 to the Alaska Middle College School for on-campus student food

— $7,000 to Arctic Entries for community storytelling

— $100,000 to add a public bus route to the Native Heritage Center

— $1.2 million for beetle kill mitigation

— $400,000 for Wi-Fi at Parks & Rec Department facilities

To view the entire list of awardees, click here.

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COVID Cash: Anchorage Assembly doles out $51 million for pet projects

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 20 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.