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Anaktuvuk Pass considers new subdivision

Jillian RogersThe Arctic Sounder

Community members, tribal leaders and engineers came together in Anaktuvuk Pass recently to discuss plans for a new subdivision in the village.

The plan includes new roads and the development of lots for residential homes.

At the meeting last month, representatives from the Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope and WHPacific, an engineering firm owned by NANA Development Corp., met with locals for community input on the project.

About 30 locals showed up for the meeting, said Mary Sage, the tribal transportation director at ICAS.

“This year will be a little bit of field work and hopefully next year will be the actual construction,” Sage said.

About 30 lots could potentially be developed for residents.

The money for the project will come from the Bureau of Indian Affairs through the tribal transportation program, Sage said. At the meeting, most community members were on board with the potential of more housing in the village, she added.

“Growth is inevitable in the villages,” she said. “This has been approved by the tribal council, by the borough and the BIA.”

Like most other communities in the Arctic, Anaktuvuk Pass is in dire need of housing. It’s not uncommon for multiple generations to be living under one roof, Sage said.

Alice Ahgook was born and raised in Anaktuvuk Pass and said she’s all for the new project. Retired from the local clinic, Ahgook said the lack of housing isn’t prompting people to leave but it does make it difficult for folks who want to move back to the community.

“There were a few that opposed but a new subdivision sounds really good,” she said, adding that the proposed project would go on the west side of Caribou Street.

“There are quite a few young people that live with their parents and grandkids all in the same house. Some people that have housing, the housing is pretty poor.”

Housing issues in the small Brooks Range community of about 300 people have been talked about for many years, Ahgook said.

She added that four houses were built recently in town but they need many more.