Behind the Landscape on Alaska's Politics & Culture

Campaign: Save the Anchorage Downtown Market!

AK INSIDER reports an email message “ WHY Kill the Anchorage Market & Festival?” that there is a strong possibility the 22 year-long Anchorage Downtown Market and Festival will no longer exist. Better known as the Saturday and Sunday Market held every weekend during the summer the Market attracts thousands of tourist and Alaskans alike, a site for Alaskan small businesses to sell their products and engage in the American entrepreneurship spirit.

It is Anchorage’s largest open air gathering activity that serves small business vendors and the public at one place.

What is the incentive for extinguishing the Market that supports Alaska’s second largest industry–Tourism?

Behind the scenes for the destruction of this iconic institution is no other than the city’s Mayor, the Anchorage Downtown (Business) Partnership (ADP), and the commercial real estate development lobby Anchorage Community Development Authority (ACDA) that also has the Mayor’s Chief of Staff sitting on the Board. The city contributes in some form or another to both organizations.

One major reason for the Market’s destruction is the Downtown business lobby believes that the Market takes business away from them. The real problem is that downtown businesses don’t market themselves well and the 5th Ave mall is just that, a mall, mostly a place with Lower 48 franchises and big businesses with no Last Frontier ambience. Tourists do not come to Anchorage to visit and shop to your typical Continental American mall.

McGinley's PubDowntown eating establishments, including Mayor Sullivan’s pub and restaurant, McGinley’s; former Mayor Begich’s Kobuk gift & coffee shop on E Street; and former Mayor and Gov. Tony Knowles’s deli restaurant on 4th Ave claim they lose tourist business. Do you think politics have anything to do with this? Kobuk-Coffee-Co-01

AK INSIDER has it that big business and big developers; big political donors to the Mayor and his future are looking at developing the Lower Bowl Parking Lot at 3rd avenue and E Street. It is prime land that overlooks the Alaska Railroad station and Ship Creek and ripe for another huge concrete and steel building to take its place.

The city should pay more attention to enhancing Anchorage’s largest unique summer activity, the Market with equal support as it does the Downtown businesses, instead of destroying the Downtown’s competition. Is that what the government is used for?

AK INSIDER says “Embrace and support Alaskan uniqueness last frontier atmosphere and independent markets; and not attempt to mimic the Lower 48 in our Downtown.”

NOTE: Alaska’s cruise ship industry supports the Anchorage Market as a unique downtown activity for its client!

About the Author

Chief Editor
Paul Bauer has served in various positions on Anchorage community boards, commissions and councils in and out of elected office with over a decade of business management experience after serving 22 years of national service. His background includes living in and visiting many diverse communities around the United States, Europe with small excursions to the Pacific that had him working with culturally diverse groups of people most of his life. As an Assembly Member he was one Member that voted against Mayor Mark Begich's costly budget increase; the largest spending budgets in the city's history; raising awareness to get a public discussion on illegal immigration in the city and removing the city's "Sanctuary City" status; bringing public awareness of the Mayor's lavish spending and his conflict of interest with his family's gift shop on the “E Street” road improvement project.


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