Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson plans on closing a city-run campground — which has become a makeshift homeless camp — at the end of the month.
Since late June, after the Sullivan Arena mass shelter was closed, homeless residents have slept in tents and cars at the Centennial Park Campground in Northeast Anchorage. The Bronson administration bussed people to the campsite from Sullivan, and waived camping fees.
In an email, Bronson spokesman Corey Allen Young said Centennial will be closed to the public on Sept. 30. He said transportation will be provided to bring homeless campers to either the Spenard or Fairview recreation centers, which officials announced would be converted into emergency shelters starting Sept. 29.
Other aspects of the mayor’s emergency shelter plan include using 20 portable buildings provided for free by an unnamed community partner and extending sheltering options at the Aviator Hotel downtown, plus housing people at the new shelter and navigation center being built in East Anchorage. Young said the mayor’s intent is to begin phasing out use of the rec centers as the other shelter options become available.
The mayor is set to ask the Assembly to amend city code to allow use of the portable buildings during the next Assembly meeting on Sept. 13. Young said the city aims to reopen Centennial to general camping in the spring.