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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Residents have proposed a number of ideas to transform the site of a former hospital in Anchorage, including housing, businesses and a solar farm.

The east downtown property that previously held the Alaska Native Medical Center has been vacant since the city acquired it in 2001, the Anchorage Daily News reported Wednesday.

The city’s Heritage Land Bank owns the property and is holding a public meeting Thursday to share and discuss possibilities for the 15-acre (6-hectare) site overlooking the Ship Creek industrial area.

Officials plan to present four concepts that blend housing, commercial uses, parks and open space, said Nicole Jones-Vogel, a land management officer with the Heritage Land Bank. The city will eventually form a master plan to guide the property’s development.

The site does present a few problems. Any major development will require additional engineering, creating additional costs, because the property falls in a seismic zone, Jones-Vogel said. Soil and groundwater assessments are also being conducted, so any contamination would need to be mitigated before construction, she said.

In the meantime, the Alaska Food Policy Council has been installing raised beds on the site this month for community gardening.

Wadeen Hepworth has lived across from the property for years. About a decade ago, she was part of a group that fought against a rezoning effort that aimed for an industrial use for the site. She has imagined the site to be used for gardens, greenhouses and festivals.

“The Alaska Native Hospital land is the last remaining raw piece of property in downtown Anchorage, enhanced with a view of Denali and the mountain ranges to the north and east,” Hepworth said. “Why would we want to cover it in concrete like every other piece of ground in this city — not only concrete but ugly concrete sitting on postage stamp lots?”


Information from: Anchorage Daily News,