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Assembly to hear proposed changes to seasonal campground for unhoused persons

March 29, 2024 – News

The City and Borough of Juneau has proposed a change in location for the seasonal camping site for those experiencing homelessness, previously operated at Mill Campground. The proposed new site is located at the corner of Thane Road and Mill Street, a location that provides ease of access and public visibility while limiting impacts on residential neighborhoods and restricting potential damage to light and power infrastructure.

The Assembly will consider this proposal and hear public testimony at the Regular Assembly Meeting in the Assembly Chambers on Monday, April 1, at 7 p.m.

The seasonal campground is operated from April through October and mainly serves people experiencing homelessness who do not have other housing options. CBJ Parks & Recreation provides facility services including garbage and potable water hauling, restrooms, platform maintenance, sharps collection, and end-of-season clean-up. Other community organizations, coordinated by the Glory Hall, provide “wrap-around” services such as mobile health clinics, social service navigation and emergency response.

For a number of years CBJ has leased the Mill Campground site from AEL&P for this purpose. However, during the 2023 season campers damaged and destroyed AEL&P infrastructure located on the site. This impact on the utility’s ability to provide power to the community is a major reason to move the camping site.  Other factors include difficulty of access for service providers, limited public visibility, and impact on nearby residential neighborhoods. For an in-depth report on the full impacts of the Mill Campground site and the rationale for a move, see CBJ’s March 11 memo to the Assembly Committee of the Whole.

In identifying a new location, CBJ looked for a site easy to access for campers, community service providers, and facilities maintenance; visible to the public to discourage high-risk activity; and with limited proximity to residential neighborhoods. This site is visible, easy to access, and easy to service. Its location will allow for periodic clean-ups and maintenance—rather than one end-of-season event—keeping the campground cleaner and safer for campers, service providers, and the surrounding neighborhood. It is located in a business/commercial neighborhood home to a number of operators, including CBJ.

For a detailed report on the pros and cons of this location, see the March 11 memo to the Assembly Committee of the Whole and the April 1 memo to the Assembly.

Members of the public interested in testifying on this topic to the Assembly are encouraged to join the April 1 Assembly Meeting remotely or in person, or to submit comments in writing to to [email protected].

The meeting will be held in the Assembly Chambers at 7 p.m. and streamed remotely via Zoom and on YouTube. The full agenda and packet materials are available at juneau-ak.municodemeetings.com.

Those testifying remotely must notify the Municipal Clerk at 907-586-5278 by 4 p.m. on April 1. To testify in person, simply sign in at the back of the Assembly Chambers.

Zoom link: juneau.zoom.us/j/91515424903

Dial-in: 1-253-215-8782

Webinar ID: 915 1542 4903

YouTube: bit.ly/cbjstream