Swanberg Dredge

Planning panel begins process to preserve Swanberg Dredge

The Nome Planning Commission is hustling on a pile of summer’s work on a plan to meet federal Secretary of Interior guidelines for money to help protect and preserve Nome’s cultural resources.
In a work session of the planning commission, the group laid plans for identifying stakeholders and cataloging historical resources for preservation. The process will involve input from the public.
The group is in the process of reviewing the Historical Preservation outreach goals, the timeline and the draft stakeholder list. Monica Faix, Nome’s city planner, ushered the commission through the steps to accomplish the plan.
The panel will develop the plan in two phases. The first, public outreach, will end in September. The second phase will prepare a report on cultural sites for rehabilitation, restoration and preservation. Money for the first two steps has been secured through the state Historic Preservation office. Faix announced at the meeting the receipt of a grant for the phases.
The panel has already gone through steps to become Nome’s Historic Preservation Commission and have the City in certified local government status, a task necessary to make Nome eligible for grant funds for historic preservation of structures within Nome’s city limits.
During the discussion, Commissioner Sue Steinacher brought up that Nome has valuable historic sites that are significant for past Alaska Native occupation and activities, which have no remaining structures. The commission is checking into the status of these sites as regards funding and preservation under the system.
Preservation of Swanberg Dredge is high on the list of projects to preserve Nome’s historic treasures. Janet Matheson, architect, reported on a couple of days spent surveying the condition of the dredge’s interior and exterior, noting that steel members are rusted but largely intact. Matheson felt that material for the exterior could be obtained locally. She found the signage along the boardwalk in good condition. Matheson is planning to deliver a preliminary report on her dredge findings by the end of April. Swanberg Dredge operated during only one mining season in 1946. However, commission chairman Ken Hughes stressed that the dredge is representative of a class of dredges.
The Historical Preservation Commission work is running concomitant with the Comprehensive Plan 2020. The City has allotted Faix, funded for five hours per week, additional hours to assist the planning panel with getting the Comprehensive Plan 2020 done before the end of 2020. Finishing the Comprehensive Plan in just a year would be impossible without Faix having more hours, the Commissioner Sara Lizak noted.  Other planners agreed.
The next work session will meet tentatively scheduled April 2 at 5:30 p.m. The commission will invite the Nome Common Council in order to familiarize Council Council members with a broad range of plans underway, to ascertain Council interest in all or none before extensive work is undertaken. The NPC is an advisory body to the Council, which has the power of yay or nay on planning commission projects.

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