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GPRA Ski Chalet January 2019 Update

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Posted on Facebook’s Borough Budget Watch Group on January 8, 2019:

Welp, the GPRA Chalet is once again OFF LIMITS to the hundreds of families involved in Mat-Su Jr. Nordics. This MSB building was paid for by taxpayers (primarily a federal grant.) Our property taxes are also paying for the utilities (heat & lights). People who use the GPRA also have to pay $5 for parking and yet…the public is only allowed to use the restrooms in the Chalet when it is convenient for the leaseholder – Lifetime Adventures – which was given control of the building by the MSB – and this private company decided NOT to allow all of the ski folks access to the building after 5:30 p.m. when they lock up. (Jr. Nordics starts at 5:30 p.m.) so everyone who is skiing in the evening has to use the one frozen Porta Potty. Some families have very young toddlers etc. and they have to wait in their vehicles. WHY IN THE WORLD DID WE BOTHER TO BUILD A SKI CHALET IF SKIERS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO USE It? I hear that many Jr. Nordic parents are planning to contact the MSB Manager, Community Development Director, and Assembly members.

There are many other people up at GPRA in the evenings using the lighted ski trails in addition to the Jr. Nordics’ kids and parents.

Also, the Colony and Palmer high school ski teams and the Alaska Nordic Racers team ski up at GPRA every week day in the afternoons until well after 5 p.m.

The peak use times for GPRA are weekday evenings and weekend days…and yet, the ski chalet is often LOCKED during those times.

Here is the Porta Potty:

A few parents pointed out to me that this Porta Potty has no lights and is pitch dark inside and thus little kids cannot safely use it.

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Here is the email I sent to the MSB Mayor, Manager, and Community Development Director the next day:

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I also sent follow-up emails asking “What if a child gets hurt; they can’t access the building to wait for an ambulance?” and sending them a copy of the video I made.

None of them responded…but at least they did take action.

NOTE: Why couldn’t the MSB have sent me a reply – saying thank you for letting us know and here is what we have done to remedy the situation.  I take the time to send emails and take a video and they can’t even be bothered to reply to me directly. So typical.

Later that week, Lifetime Adventures changed its hours of operation and is now keeping the Chalet OPEN (just the lobby and bathrooms) until 7 p.m. on weeknights during Jr. Nordics. I talked to the Lifetime Adventures staff person in the building when it was open past 5:30 p.m. and I asked him why the change in hours and he said – All I know is my boss told me to stay here until 7 p.m. from now on.

However, an Assembly Member revealed to me that Lifetime Adventures is way behind on its $500/month lease payments and the MSB may have made some sort of agreement to PAY Lifetime Adventures to keep the building open additional hours (due to the complaints.) WUT?

If the MSB Community Development Director approves a one year lease extension for this company without having a public hearing, that would be WRONG. The public deserves to receive all financial info about this “management agreement” and then deserves to discuss it at a public meeting before the MSB takes any further behind the scenes action.

Another update:

The Palmer High School Cross Country Ski Team hosted a multi-school ski meet up at GPRA on Friday January 11th and Saturday January 12th.  PHS had to pay Lifetime Adventures approximately $1500 to rent the (MSB owned) building for this high school event!!! PHS also had to pay for a janitor for both days.  The MSBSD also set up two additional outside Porta Potties (in a place under lights.)

So – the MSB is paying Lifetime Adventures to use their own building and Lifetime Adventures owes the MSB money on its lease? HOW DOES THIS MAKE ANY FINANCIAL SENSE?

Another NOTE:

The MSB Community Development Department clearly knows when it is peak use times as that is when they send an employee up to GPRA to write parking tickets. The MSB truck was there writing tickets during Jr. Nordics and during the ski meet.

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Here is a video from one of the races at the GPRA high school invitational on Jan 12th:

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