Bethel City Council Considers COVID-19 Emergency, Bethel Winter House, And New Gym Study

Sep 8, 2020


Credit Christine Trudeau / KYUK

On Sept. 8, the Bethel City Council will consider redeclaring a local disaster emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The city’s last emergency declaration expired July 25. This declaration specifies that the city should take all precautions against COVID-19 “until there is no longer a threat.”

The council is considering some options about city properties. Council members will start talking about transferring the old senior center to Bethel Winter House to use as a year-round homeless shelter. The old senior center, located in the Housing Subdivision, has been vacant since 2014 and will need some work. Bethel Winter House President Jon Cochrane has said that renovations for the building could cost over $1 million, but Winter House has already raised most of the funds necessary.

Also on the agenda are a couple of items involving the YK Fitness Center, like paying for a feasibility study for building a basketball gym there, and authorizing more money to repair the existing building after parts of it froze up last winter and closed the pool. The current estimated cost of those fixes is $620,000.

The city council will also conduct a six-month performance evaluation of City Attorney Elizabeth “Libby” Bakalar. Bakalar has stated her intent to hold that evaluation publicly.