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The City of Seward, the Seward Ranger District of Chugach National Forest and Kenai Fjords National Park are resuming the planning process for the Mary Lowell Center, a multi-agency administrative, visitor and conference facility for downtown Seward. This Center will provide one stop shopping for permitting and information for public lands in the area of Seward and Resurrection Bay.
The Portico Group, the architecture and engineering firm for the project will be in Seward for an open house on Thursday, July 24 from 6 – 8 p.m. at Legends of the Mountain. They will be seeking public feedback on revised schematic design alternatives.
This design phase is being repeated due to the following changes affecting the project:
- The USFS revised its plans for participating in the Mary Lowell Center due to downsizing operations in Seward. While still a partner in the project, the amount of office space for USFS personnel in the Center was dramatically reduced.
- On February 11, 2008 the Seward City Council passed a resolution expressing a preference for a design that does not require building across Washington Street reversing direction given in the City’s 2003 resolution.
- In addition, the Mary Lowell Center partners wanted to consider a design that could be built in phases since it is uncertain whether the entire amount required to complete the project will be funded in a single appropriation.
The revised schematic design will be based on the two alternatives selected through the mini-Value Analysis in May 2008. One is a single three-story building on the current site of the Legends Building and the other is a two story Visitor Center/Conference Facility on the Legends site and a two story administrative building on the Harbor Dinner Club/Mai property site on the east side of 5th Avenue.
For more information on this project contact Kirsten Vesel, City of Seward Assistant City Manager (907-224-4074), or Jeff Mow, Kenai Fjords National Park Superintendent (907-224-2118).