Legislature(2001 - 2002)
03/15/2001 01:12 PM TRA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SB 79-FRED ZHAROFF MEMORIAL BRIDGE CHAIR KOHRING announced that the next order of business would be SENATE BILL NO. 79, "An Act naming the Fred Zharoff Memorial Bridge." Number 1020 CLIFFORD STONE, Staff to Senator Alan Austerman, Alaska State Legislature, presented SB 79 on behalf of Senator Austerman, sponsor. He explained that Senator Austerman and the community felt that this [bill] was an appropriate tribute to a man [former Representative and Senator Fred Zharoff] who gave his life to public service in the public schools of Kodiak and to the State of Alaska by serving with the House and Senate for almost 20 years. MR. STONE said that Senator Austerman is the primary sponsor of SB 79, but there are 16 cosponsors, the most support that he has seen for "anything on this Senate side in quite some time." Number 1076 MR. STONE stated that former Senator Zharoff was a person who could get things done, both professionally and as a friend. He mentioned that he knew Senator Zharoff, whom he refers to as Fred, for the 25 years that he lived on Kodiak. He said that Senator Zharoff was a "high-visibility-type person," who was always involved not only for his community that he represented, but also for what was good for Alaska. [This was also true] for anything he voted upon. Mr. Stone said that by seeing Senator Zharoff in Kodiak during the interim and interacting with him in Juneau, he saw that Senator Zharoff had a unique perspective. He also liked his "tutelage" in that they would run ideas past each other. Mr. Stone stated that he feels honored that he was able to be associated with somebody like him. MR. STONE pointed out that Senator Zharoff was instrumental in obtaining funding for the Near Island Bridge, which has also been referred to as the "Bridge to Nowhere." Before the bridge, the island consisted of "just a bunch of cattle." But Senator Zharoff and the community had a vision that this island could be developed if there was a convenient means to get over to that side [of the island]. A boat harbor expansion was planned for this area, which was an "integral piece to make it happen." MR. STONE remarked that currently, there are moorage spaces for 600 vessels [on the island]. He said that the airplane float facility has been moved to the other side of Near Island. There are also two separate fisheries research centers on Near Island, and the possibility of a hotel and restaurant combination. The community is also beginning to open up other parcels to commercial enterprises, and there is a rock quarry on Near Island. [All of these developments] have allowed for tremendous economic expansion of the area. MR. STONE commented that in recent years the bridge has been known as "Freddy's Bridge." However, Senator Austerman thought this name was a "little too cute" to put into legislation. So, "we" decided on the Fred Zharoff Memorial Bridge, a more formal name. But, "I suppose folks will continue to call it "Freddy's Bridge," he said. Number 1236 REPRESENTATIVE SCALZI mentioned that he has been over the bridge. He said he remembers when people had to "skiff back and forth between the harbor and town years ago." He also remembers it [the bridge] being discussed and then constructed. He said the bridge is "much needed access." He went on to say he appreciates Senator Austerman bringing this [bill] forward and noted that he had the privilege of knowing former Senator Zharoff as well. Number 1265 CHAIR KOHRING told a personal story that he can relate to [the bridge]. He said many years ago, he helped build a cannery in this area, in which he hung "1,800 sheets of sheetrock over a two-month period." He remembers looking at [Near] Island and thinking, "'I wonder if that is ever going to develop,' and when they built the bridge, I thought ... 'I wonder why they would build a bridge?'" In hindsight, he said Senator Zharoff was very prophetic and visionary in terms of recognizing how important the bridge was for the community. He said this is shown in the development of things such as the boat harbor and airplane facility on the island. He said: It's a real honor to have this bill before us. I do support this. I really enjoyed working with Fred over the years. He was a wonderful human being, and I had a very good friendship with him and he was an outstanding crib player. I'll certainly miss that; our friendship and his bipartisan approach to working with his colleagues in the legislature. CHAIR KOHRING noted that Senator Zharoff's wife had sent him correspondence requesting the House Transportation Standing Committee's consideration of this legislation. He also pointed out that the mayor of the City of Kodiak, Carolyn L. Floyd, had provided a letter of support for SB 79, which is in the committee members' packets. Number 1358 REPRESENTATIVE SCALZI made a motion to move SB 79 from the committee with individual recommendations and the attached zero fiscal note. There being no objection, SB 79 was moved from the House Transportation Standing Committee.