Council accepts grant for 3D-print housing project
The Nome Common Council passed a resolution to accept a $600,000 grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development for the purpose of building a 3D printed house.
The City has partnered last year with Extreme Habitats and the University of Pennsylvania to work on a demonstration project utilizing 3D printing to quickly and efficiently construct housing. Nome experiences a shortage of affordable housing and with the anticipated port expansion on the horizon, the stress on the housing market will only increase. City Manager Glenn Steckman told the Council that the military is also interested in finding out if this type of housing is feasible to be built in Nome. Councilmember Scot Henderson asked what this demonstration project would be used for, once built. Steckman answered it would be either used for City employee housing or the city will turn around and sell it. The purpose of this project is to find out whether 3D printed homes would work in Nome’s extreme climate as this technology has not been tried out in the Arctic. The furthest north home built that way is located in Denmark.
Steckman said the $600,000 from HUD would cover the cost of only one home. Councilmember Mark Johnson stated that the idea was to build something efficiently and less costly. Do the $600,000 include the necessary printing equipment? Yes, it would, answered Steckman.
The Council unanimously approved the resolution and construction is to begin next summer.
In other business, the Council heard from Nome Police Deputy Chief William Crockett that two new officers were hired. They heard from Port Director Joy Baker that work at the fuel headers was completed which replaced failing fuel pipes at the causeway and that the lines are ready to receive fuel.
She also put the Council on notice that necessary maintenance work under the causeway bridge will require the acquisition of a custom scaffolding that would be hung off the bridge to perform work under the bridge. That custom scaffolding won’t be cheap, but the expense is necessary. “The days of using a ladder on a skiff, those days are gone. We’re not gonna do that again,” she said.
City Manager Glenn Steckman noted that a recent Anchorage Daily News report on the sentencing Matthew Schwier misrepresented the Nome Police Department again.
Schwier, 39, of Wasilla worked in Nome in 2011/12 but was fired before completing his probationary time at NPD. According to the Dept. of Justice, the FBI began investigating Schwier in 2016 — long after bein fired from NPD — after he shared child pornographic media with an undercover officer. Schwier was arrested in 2017 when investigators found more than 100 still images and videos of sexual abuse of infants on his computer. He was sentenced two weeks ago to three years in jail. Steckman said the man was fired from NPD because of his behavior of not interacting well with the Native community.
Steckman also updated the Council on how NPD releases information in cases of deaths. He said the police puts out information only after next of kin has been notified of deaths.
“I want to make sure that people recognize that this is not the NPD of ten years ago,” he said. “Any questions or concerns are followed up by the police and city administration.”
Mayor John Handeland reported that Senator Lisa Murkowski was in Nome for a very quick trip, arriving on the morning jet and leaving with the evening plane. She went to Pilgrim Hot Springs and received a tour of the operations at the proposed mine site of Graphite One, on the northern slopes of the Kigluiak mountains.