Tuesday, April 16, 2002

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Developer explains proposed Butte subdivision project

Spectrum by E.G. Judd Walker

After reading your article I feel this is a good opportunity to keep the public informed of what my intentions are as managing member of Pioneer Mountain Properties LLC (PMP), an affiliate of Waldec Enterprises Inc., which is my family's company that has been developing property in Alaska for more than 30 years. Your article fairly stated the reasons for relinquishing the lease. I feel there is some insight that can be offered to more clearly express what the current intentions for this property are.

As one might know, Victor Trygstad was the former managing member of Homestead Resort Properties, which had originally reached an agreement to lease/purchase the borough property. The agreement was that 320 acres of borough property located east of McRoberts Creek and south of Maud Road would be used to build a Jack Nicklaus golf course. I became involved in trying to build the course and pool the fund interest to make it happen. In the back of my mind I knew there was another great potential for this project if the golf course wouldn't make it, as a multi-use recreational subdivision like the Valley has never seen before.

I purchased Victor Trygstad's complete interest in the project in the middle of last year. He now has no interest of any type in the project. The reason I say this is that I had no part of the negotiations or any interest in those negotiations at the time of the origination of the lease. I want to make it clear that this is a completely different idea from the original project. Victor did want horse amenities and a landing strip, but those are the only similarities I'm aware of. I am a lifelong Alaskan and stand behind the concept of this project 100 percent. I stand or fall accordingly.

I have submitted an application to the borough to purchase the southern 240 acres of the original 320 in the Jack Nicklaus lease/purchase. I have also submitted an application to purchase 80 acres of property south of the property PMP owns for a paved, lighted public landing strip. To make the ultimate recreational subdivision, a very large piece of ground is required to do it right. PMP owns 570 acres of property adjoining both pieces of property which would make a total of 890 acres of contiguous property. It is only fair that many people have the right to use that property and not just the few who currently oppose and use it -- who, by the way, have not even contacted me to talk about the idea of a recreational subdivision that everyone can use. PMP will be opening up a substantial amount of its property to the public in trails, park areas with views and an equestrian center to make each property complement the other.

There was a Butte Community Council Meeting on April 10. A conceptual design was available after April 3 at Denali North Engineering for those who wanted to preview it before the council meeting. Everyone who lives in the area should have be there to express their concerns and desires for a multi-use residential subdivision with 60,000-square-foot lot minimums, paved streets with electric and gas, horse and motorized trails with fantastic views, large equestrian center, paved and lighted public runway, baseball fields, soccer fields, other open areas and greenbelts. All public-use areas on the borough property would be deeded back to the borough after completion.

Completion of the public runway would happen within eight years and completion of the ball fields, green belts and open areas in 12 years. The best things need to be planned well ahead and take time. There is no way to feasibly build a quality subdivision of this type without the added property of the borough. It would be a recreational subdivision that everyone could be proud of. It is the opportunity of a lifetime for me as a developer and future residents, to truly bring to the public something we can all look back at and say "You know, he did it right."

People from the Butte area in support of or against the project who have viewed the conceptual should contact the following:

Mayor Tim Anderson, 745-9682; Borough Manager John Duffy, 745-9689; or Director of Comm. Development Ron Swanson, 745-9868.

E. G. Judd Walker

Copyright 2002 Frontiersman.com.