Sitka celebrates completion of Sawmill Creek Road Upgrade Project and opening of new trail

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HIGHWAY RIBBON-CUTTING – TOP: Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Commissioner Pat Kemp and Sitka Mayor Mim McConnell cut a ribbon to mark the completion of the Sawmill Creek Road Upgrade Project on Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, at the Gary Paxton Industrial Park. About 80 Sitkans attended the noon ceremony which included a picnic lunch hosted by the city. In his remarks at the ceremony Kemp recalled working on Sawmill Creek Road during the summer when he was in college in the 1970s and thinking then about how it would be nice to someday improve the winding road that was susceptible to slides. Sitka Trail Works board president Brian Hanson told about the trail portion of the project and how it was an early goal of the organization. State Sen. Burt Stedman (R-Sitka) also spoke at the ribbon cutting. He told about the decades-long efforts to create the road and trail project. Gary Paxton in his remarks noted the diligent work of Stedman to secure state and federal funding. He praised the work of former city attorney T. Cole in ironing out legal agreements between stake holders; George Ishiyama, president of Alaska Pulp Corporation, who donated land used in the project; and Deborah Lyons, for her work on the project through Sitka Trail Works. Pictured are, from left, DOT Southeast Regional Director Al Clough, Paxton, Stedman, Hanson, Kemp, McConnell and Lyons. ABOVE: A group of walkers led by Roger Higley, left, and Brian Hanson use the recently opened Sawmill Creek Road Trail on Thursday, Aug. 21, to get from Whale Park to the Gary Paxton Industrial Park. Sitka Trail Works organized the walk to celebrate the completion of the final phase of the road project that included the trail. (Daily Sitka Sentinel Photos by James Poulson)

Below are four additional photo of the event taken by John Stein.

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