Anchorage: Economy

views updated May 29 2018

Anchorage: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

While the U.S. economy has shown declines in recent years, Alaska's economy has shown a relatively stable growth of two percent annually. The United States government and the oil industry have been integral to the Anchorage economy. The federally funded Alaska Railroad gave Anchorage its start; later the military defense system supported an essentially undiversified economic base. This base expanded in the 1970s when the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, one of the largest construction projects in history, brought thousands of workers and increased service industries.

Although Juneau is the state capital, Anchorage is the state's government center. In 2003, Anchorage employed 4,300 state government employees, and 10,000 federal government employees.

Anchorage is the state's primary transportation, communications, trade, service, and finance center. Anchorage makes up 42 percent of the state's population but accounts for 47 percent of the employment. Today, the four major sectors that drive Anchorage's local economy are oil and gas, the military (three military posts are located at the airport), transportation, and the convention and tourism industry.

Alaska's oil production accounts for more than 22 percent of the nation's oil reserves. Anchorage may not be the hub of production, but the city acts as the administrative center for the industry. While the sector only accounts for two percent of the local employment, the importance to Anchorage's economy is greater, accounting for about eight percent of local salaries and wages.

The military in Anchorage is a constant presence. Elmendorf Air Force Base, Fort Richardson Army Post, and Kulis Air National Guard base are all located at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. The three military posts employ 8,500; military personnel and their family members boost local economy by patronizing businesses. In addition, nearly 10 percent of Anchorage's population is comprised of military personnel and family members.

The transportation industry in Anchorage is the busiest in the state. The Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) accounts for another 10 percent of Anchorage's employed, either directly or indirectly. The ANC flies more than 560 transcontinental cargo flights each week; the airport's economic impact is felt as far away as the North Pole, where jet fuel is refined and loaded onto the more than 100 rail cars that then travel by Alaska Railroad to service ANC daily. The Alaska Railroad transports freight and passengers; in summer months the Railroad transports passengers to popular destinations throughout the state. The Port of Anchorage accounts for delivery of more than 90 percent of the consumer goods arriving in Alaska.

The tourism and convention industry, along with the service businesses that sprout up around the industry, are a major driving force in Anchorage economy. Mainly due to its central location, Anchorage acts as the gateway to the state of Alaska, thereby funneling tourists, conventioneers and other visitors through the area. Alaska's tourism industry accounts for more than 30,000 statewide jobs and an estimated (2003) economic impact of nearly $80 million in Anchorage alone. The market for trade shows and conventions in the city is growing; the 2003 economic impact of meetings sold during that year equaled more than $71 million.

Items and goods produced: fisheries' products, wood and wood products, petroleum products, coal, minerals

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Companies

The most widely used local incentives include customized job training programs, low interest loans, municipal revenue bonds, and property tax abatement. Anchorage Economic Development Corporation, a public-private partnership, assists new and existing businesses with information on taxes and utilities and on available sites and buildings, which are said to be plentiful.

Local programs

The Municipality of Anchorage offers a program that exempts some types of economic development properties from taxation. Inventory that is held for shipment outside of Alaska may also be exempt from local inventory taxes.

State programs

The Governor's Office of International Trade provides assistance and information to firms interested in foreign trade and investment, organizes trade missions and promotions, and sponsors trade shows and seminars. Several areas in the city are located in Anchor-age's Foreign Trade Zone, the two most notable being the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport and the Port of Anchorage. The World Trade Center assists businesses seeking to enter or expand their role in international trade. The Alaska Export Assistance Center helps local businesses expand into foreign markets.

Job training programs

The University of Alaska Anchorage offers classes and degree programs to businesses and individuals on logistics and on doing business in Pacific Asia and the former Soviet Union. The university also partners with the Alaska Economic Development Corporation to provide a Mentor Program that connects students with business leaders. Lunchtime forums highlight a different business industry each time.

Development Projects

In April 2005 residents will be asked to approve $46.9 million in bonds for projects involving road improvements, public transportation, and public safety. Residents will be asked to approve more funds to build a new $93 million civic center and to help fund the $100 million planned expansion at the Anchorage Museum of Art and History. Other projects in the works or in planning stages include developing ski terrain at the Winner Creek-Glacier Valley north of the Alyeska Resort in Girdwood. Development of this area is expected to bring thousands more skiers each winter, with another 320,000 visitors expected each summer; this could mean a generation of $74 million annually in gross revenues and the creation of about 900 new jobs. Other projects involve revitalizing neighborhoods, such as the Eagle River Downtown Revitalization and the Mountain View Arts and Cultural District.

In transportation, a $250 million expansion is underway at the Port of Anchorage in 2005. The expanded facility is expected to generate more than 2,300 jobs once completed and will accommodate the area's cruise and military business. Merrill Field has constructed two new taxiways, and an apron expansion in 2005 will add more space and accommodations for ski-equipped aircraft in winter and aircraft with tundra tires in summer. In late 2004, Congress approved funding for several intermodal facilities to be built throughout the city at museums, medical centers, and other destinations. The 2004 summer road construction season completed 41 road and safety projects with a total cost of about $45 million.

Anchorage has a strong commitment to preserving land for recreation. Part of this commitment involves the Foster-A-Flower program; in 2004 downtown businesses bought more than 200 hanging flower baskets, each at $75, to beautify the area. Five new dog parks were created in Anchorage in 2004.

Economic Development Information: Anchorage Economic Development Corporation, 900 West Fifth Avenue, Suite 300, Anchorage, AK 99501; telephone (907)258-3000; toll-free (800)462-7275; fax (907)258-6646; email [email protected]. Municipality of Anchorage, 632 W. Sixth Avenue, Anchorage, AK 99501

Commercial Shipping

Anchorage's sea and air ports combine with its railroad to make the area the primary cargo distributor in the state. The Port of Anchorage, the largest seaport in Alaska, is a year-round shipping point with five terminals served by three major carriers, which bring four to five ships from the Pacific Northwest and Asia each week. More than four million tons of iron and steel products, containerized freight, bulk petroleum, cement, wood products, and various other commodities crossed the Port's docks in 2003. More than 50 air carriers and 9 freight forwarders connect Anchorage to the rest of the country and the world beyond. The airport is said to be one of the busiest cargo airports in North America; in 2002, Anchorage was second to Memphis in having the most cargo landed weight in the country, and third ranked in the world for most cargo landed weight. Municipal Merrill Field airport serves the intrastate needs of business, banking, and commerce. The Alaska Railroad provides rail freight service; in 2003 the railroad moved more than eight million tons of freight across 525 miles of track. More than 30 motor freight carriers link Anchorage with major market areas.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

Anchorage boasts an abundant and well-educated labor pool with a relatively low median age. Ninety percent of residents are high school graduates, and approximately 65 percent of Anchorage's adult residents have completed at least one year of college. In addition, wage rates in Anchorage tend to be higher than wages in other areas of the country due to an abundance of higher-level positions available. Anchorage employment levels rose 28 percent between 1995 and 2003, due mainly to a 40 percent increase in the private support sector. In that same period, the services industry increased 114 percent, reflecting the area's attractiveness as a tourist destination.

Expansion and diversification have given Anchorage's economy the ability to absorb fluctuations in the business cycle or unexpected economic events. Anchorage now has a steady year-round employment base, with a summer boost from tourism and construction activities. The international cargo business in Anchorage continues to grow; Anchorage is equidistant to both Asia and Europe, and is 9 hours flying time to nearly the entire industrialized world, making it a good location for warehousing and distribution. About 10 percent of the city's employment can be attributed either directly or indirectly to the airport.

According to the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation, job growth in Anchorage is expected to be in the service sector, which would include jobs in health and social services, hospitality, trade, and finance and real estate. Contributing to Anchorage's economy will be the addition of 2,000 Stryker Brigade soldiers to Fort Richardson as part of a nationwide reorganization.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Anchorage metropolitan area labor force, 2003 annual averages.

Size of non-agricultural labor force: 142,600

Number of workers employed in . . .

natural resources and mining: 2,200

construction: 8,500

manufacturing: 1,800

trade, transportation and utilities: 33,000

information: 4,600

financial activities: 8,800

professional and business services: 16,000

educational and health services: 17,300

leisure and hospitality: 14,600

other services: 5,700

government: 30,000

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $12.01 (statewide average)

Unemployment rate: 5.1% (December 2004)

Largest employers (2003)Number of employees
Providence Health System Alaska3,566
Safeway Stores, Inc. (retail-grocery)3,135
Wal-Mart/Sam's Club2,443
Fred Meyer (retail-grocery)2,341
Alaska Airlines1,726
BP Exploration, Inc. (oil and gas production)1,417
Banner Health System1,243
NANA Management Services1,227
Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation1,217
ASRC Energy Services1,171
Federal Express1,094
VECO Inc. (oil field services)1,018

Cost of Living

The personal tax burden in Alaska is extremely low, while the cost of living is significantly higher than much of the rest of the nation. Residents benefit from distributions from the Permanent Fund, a savings account established in 1976 by voters allowing residents to receive 25 percent of the state's royalty oil revenue. Senior citizens enjoy a $150,000 property tax exemption or a renter's rebate.

The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors for the Anchorage area.

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $349,640

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 122.5 (U.S. average = 100.0)

State income tax rate: None

State sales tax rate: None

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: 8% on rental cars, fuel, alcohol, tobacco

Property tax rate: Graduated from 7.91 mills to 18.15 mills levied on full assessed value

Economic Information: Alaska Department of Labor, Research & Analysis Section, 3301 Eagle Street, Suite 202, PO Box 107018, Anchorage, AK 99510-7018; telephone (907)269-4863; fax (907)269-4870

Anchorage: Recreation

views updated May 17 2018

Anchorage: Recreation


An ideal way to see the points of interest in downtown Anchorage is to take a walking tour. A circular routebeginning at Old City Hall, original seat of the municipal government, and ending two blocks away at the Pioneer Schoolhouse, the first school in Anchorageprovides a leisurely stroll through the city's history. Principal attractions along the way include the Ship Creek Viewpoint with a view of the site of Tanaina summer fish camps. Nearby are the David Leopold House, built in 1917 for the city's first mayor; and Boney Memorial Courthouse, housing fine examples of nineteenth-century art motifs of Alaskan natives and animals. The Oscar Anderson House Museum in Elderberry Park is Anchorage's only historic house museum, and gives visitors a glimpse into the life of the family that occupied the home as well as Anchorage history.

Resolution Park, featuring the Captain Cook Monument, commemorates the two-hundredth anniversary of Cook's exploration of the area. Adjacent to the park are historic Anchorage homes, including the first permanent frame residence in the city. Located on the southern edge of downtown is Delaney Park, known as "The Park Strip," once a firebreak for the original town site and later the city's first airfield.

The Alaska Zoo features hundreds of animals; special attractions are the natural land habitat for brown bears and an aquarium for seals and otters. Points of interest in north Anchorage include St. Nicholas Russian Church. The oldest building in the municipality, the church is located at Eklutna, the site of the first Tanaina settlement east of Knik Arm; the cemetery's "spirit" houses are reminders of the blend of native tradition and missionary influence.

In south Anchorage are the Potter Section House and Crow Creek Mine, the first non-native settlement. An example of a nineteenth-century placer mine, Crow Creek is still in operation, and rental equipment is available for those wishing to pan for any gold that remains. Local fur factories provide regularly scheduled tours of their facilities. Sightseeing and "flightseeing" tours of the Anchorage area and day trips to attractions such as Mt. McKinley and Portage Glacier can be arranged through bus and air services.

Arts and Culture

Dating back to Territory days when opera was staged regularly and when the city had an orchestra before it had paved streets, the performing arts have been an integral part of life in Anchorage. The city's arts community, with more than 75 organizations offering cultural experiences ranging from classical music to native dance, provides a striking contrast to the surrounding wilderness. The Anchorage Concert Association, founded in 1950 to bring international performers to local audiences, is still active, sponsoring about 22 music, dance, and theatre productions each year.

Many of these performances are presented in the downtown Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, a modern complex housing four theaters, including the new Elvera Voth Hall, an 1,800 square foot performance and rehearsal space opened in 2003. A significant contribution to the Anchorage arts community, the center offers a year-round schedule of more than 600 events and furnishes a showcase for local performers. The center's resident companies include Alaska Dance Theatre, Alaska Junior Theater, Anchorage Concert Association, Anchorage Concert Chorus, the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, Anchorage Opera, and Whistling Swan Productions.

Dance thrives in Anchorage with the Alaska Dance Theater, as well as Native American, Eskimo, and Russian folk troupes.

The Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, formed in 1946 and today featuring 80 musicians, hosts a September-to-May season with performances of classics and young people's concerts. The Anchorage Opera offers three full-scale opera productions per season. The Alaska Chamber Singers, a chorale ensemble of 40 voices, offer performances at various venues throughout the city.

Interest and participation in the visual arts has been encouraged in Anchorage by "1% for Art in Public Places," a 1978 law setting aside for the purchase of commissioned artwork at least one percent of construction costs of all public buildings. Since 1978, $5.8 million has been spent on 267 works of art in more than 100 buildings.

Museums and galleries in Anchorage specialize in science, history, and arts and crafts. Imaginarium is a science discovery center with a variety of hands-on experience exhibits, a 10-foot tall Tyrannosaurus Rex, a planetarium, and a pre-school learning area. The Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum traces the history of state aviation and prominent aviators, with a theater, observation deck, and historic planes. The Anchorage Museum of History and Art features a permanent collection of 17,500 objects and 2,000 artifacts; the museum is also responsible for a $5.8 million collection of 276 works of art viewable in public buildings around the city. In early 2005 the museum was in the planning stages of a 70,000 square foot expansion, funded by a private donor endowment to the tune of $50 million, with matching federal and state funds. The 15,000 square foot Alaska Gallery in the museum displays a collection of more than 1,000 objects of traditional and modern native art with demonstration exhibits. At the Alaska Native Heritage Center the visitor can explore five distinct Alaska Native cultures through interpretive displays, films, and daily performances by traditional storytellers. A trail from the Welcome House leads to Native Tradition Bearersartists and performers at five traditional village exhibits surrounding a lake on the 26-acre grounds.

Festivals and Holidays

The year kicks off in Anchorage with the Annual Anchorage Folk Festival, offering more than 120 musical performances by local and guest acts, and the Great Alaska Beer and Barleywine Festival. February offers the Fur Rendezvous, known as the "Fur Rondy" (dating back to 1936 and one of the 10 largest festivals in the nation), a popular 10-day celebration of the annual fur-auctioning and social gathering of trappers and miners. The world-famous cross country Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race starts in downtown Anchorage the first Saturday in March. Also in March and coinciding with the Iditarod is the Tour of Anchorage, a cross-country ski event with varying race lengths.

April follows up with the Alyeska Spring Carnival & Slush Cup, and May brings the Alaska Native Youth Olympics. June events include the Three Barons Renaissance Faire and the Mayor's Midnight Sun Marathon.

Live music can be heard all summer long on Wednesday and Friday afternoons from the park at Fourth Avenue and E Street. Other summer fare includes the annual July 4th Celebration and the Bear Paw Festival at Eagle River in July; August offerings include the Alyeska Blueberry & Mountain Arts Festival and the Arctic Thunder Elmendorf Air Force Base Open House and Air Show.

Among the fall highlights are the Alaska State Fair in late August and early September, followed in October by the Nye Frontier Hockey Classic. The year closes out with Thanksgiving weekend events that include an annual production of The Nutcracker by the Cincinnati Ballet and the Town Square Tree Lighting Ceremony, and in December the Anchorage International Film Festival.

Sports for the Spectator

The Wells Fargo Sports Complex at the University of Alaska Anchorage hosts Seawolves National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) hockey, basketball, and volleyball competition. The Alaska Aces of the East Coast Hockey League are based in Anchorage and play at Sullivan Arena. The Carrs Great Alaska Shootout collegiate basketball tournament is a major event that draws fans from throughout the state and nation.

Sled dog racing is the official state sport and Anchorage hosts several main sledding events. The world famous Iditarod Trial Sled Dog Race originates in Anchorage and runs more than 1,000 miles to Nome, the course taking from 10 days to a month to complete. The World Championship Sled Dog Races, the most famous sprint race, is held during the Fur Rendezvous and draws racers from all over the world.

Sports for the Participant

With more than 162 parks covering 14,000 acres, residents have a multitude of choices for year-round and seasonal outdoor activities. Park facilities include shelters, pools, camping, more than 40 ball fields, 59 tennis courts, winter ice skating, and programming for recreational events. Mountain climbing can be pursued at the 500,000-acre Chugach State Park, situated within the city limits; hiking and horseback-riding trails are located in several other municipal parks. Salmon and trout fishing facilities are maintained on rivers, creeks, and lakes, and licensed hunting is regulated by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

During summer the midnight sun provides additional time for recreation. Popular activities include boating, kayaking, and river rafting on the flowing waters within the municipality limits. Free loaner bicycles are available for use on downtown bike trails; among other public facilities are 4 golf courses, 5 indoor pools, several lakes, and 49 tennis courts. With 120 miles of paved trails and 300 miles of unpaved and wilderness trail, Anchorage's extensive trail system attracts both residents and visitors. One of the most popular routes is the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, an 11-mile asphalt trail that runs from downtown to Kincaid Park (which has its own system of 43 miles of wooded trail). Flattop Mountain is a popular hike; both beginner and expert hikers can summit the 3,510 foot mountain (3 miles round trip) as a day hike. Cyclists and runners enjoy the multitude of trails in and around Anchorage. Runners have been traveling to Anchorage to participate in the Mayor's Midnight Sun Marathon since its inception in 1974. Bicycling magazine called Anchorage's trail system one of the best in the United States.

Winter sports enthusiasts can find a wide range of choices, including dog sledding, ice skating, skiing, sledding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and skating on several rinks, including two Olympic-sized hockey rinks. Dog sled rides and tours are available through local vendors. The municipality maintains more than 200 miles of cross-country ski trails, including 40 kilometers lit for night skiing, plus sledding hills and snowmobile trails. Alaska's largest ski resort is 40 minutes from downtown Anchorage. Alyeska Resort boasts an annual average of 742 inches of snowfall and a lift capacity of more than 10,000 skiers per hour on its 9 lifts.

Shopping and Dining

More than a dozen shopping centers, including five major malls, are located in Anchorage. Downtown's Fifth Avenue Mall houses major national retail chains such as Eddie Bauer, The Gap, Body Shop, and Banana Republic, but products native to Alaska are the major shopping attractions, with foods, ivory, jewelry, gold, furs, seal oil candles, and Eskimo and Aleut basketry among the most popular items. Shoppers can visit workshops to see fur styling, jewelry crafting, and wool making demonstrations. The Anchorage Saturday Market operates both Saturday and Sunday throughout the summer at Third Avenue and E Street. Shoppers will find fresh baked goods and vegetables, handmade jewelry and crafts, and unique Native art.

More than 350 restaurants in Anchorage offer a variety of ethnic cuisines. The local specialty is fresh seafood, particularly salmon, served at most restaurants in settings that offer views of mountain ranges and oceangoing vessels departing the Port of Anchorage.

Visitor Information: Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau, 524 W. Fourth Avenue, Anchorage, AK 99501; telephone (907)276-4118

Anchorage: History

views updated May 17 2018

Anchorage: History

Native American Trade Center Transformed by Discovery of Gold

The Anchorage area was settled more than 6,000 years ago as a summer fishing camp for the Tanaina tribe. Until the seventeenth century it was under the dominance of the Pacific Eskimos; then in 1650 the Eskimos were defeated in battle by the Tanaina where Point Woronzof is now located on the shore of Knik Arm. By 1700 the area had become a major trade center for Native Americans, Eskimos, and Aleuts.

The first European to explore the territory around the inlet was the British explorer Captain James Cook, who claimed the land for England in 1778 and after whom Cook Inlet was named. Russian settlers moved onto Upper Cook Inlet in the late 1890s, establishing settlements inhabited by traders and missionaries. With the sale of Alaska to the United States in 1867, Russia turned over its holdings on Cook Inlet to the Alaska Commercial Company of San Francisco. In 1882 gold was discovered in streams along Turnagain Arm, causing a population explosion as steamships from Seattle brought prospectors who settled in the Matanuska and Sustina Valleys to pan for gold.

City Becomes Major Railroad, Aviation, Military Center

Another growth spurt occurred in 1915 when Ship Creek was chosen as the mid-point construction headquarters for the government-owned Alaska Railroad that was to be built from Seward to Fairbanks. A town site was soon established at Ship Creek, land was auctioned off, and the new town was called Anchorage. By 1920, the year of its incorporation, Anchorage had developed into a major city. The Alaska Railroad was completed in 1923; that same year Anchorage's first airfield was built, initiating the aviation industry that within a decade became a vital part of the city's economy. Anchorage established its own airline in 1926 and in 1935 Merrill Field was opened. In 1935 the city also experienced another population boom with the migration of dust bowl farmers from the Midwest into the Matanuska Valley.

The foundation of another important element of Anchor-age's economy, the military defense complex, was formed with the military buildup in Alaska during the late 1930s. Fort Richardson and Elmendorf Field Air Force Base were established near the city; the Alaska Highway, the American military supply line to northern defense headquarters and a link between Anchorage and other parts of the country, was completed in 1942. Through World War II and into the early 1950s the city expanded, the population increasing to 43,314 in 1950 at a rate of more than 600 percent in a decade. In 1951 International Airport opened, making Anchorage a primary connection for transpolar air traffic between Europe and Asia.

City Devastated by Earthquake; Oil Discovered

Anchorage suffered a severe setback in 1964 when it was struck by a devastating earthquake, one of the most serious ever recorded in North America. Damage was extensive, but within two years the city had recovered and was moving into another phase of prosperity resulting from the discovery of oil on Cook Inlet. The city and borough governments merged in 1975 to form the municipality of Anchorage, and in 1978 "Project 80s" was initiated. A development plan of major proportions, Project 80s involved the construction of the George M. Sullivan Arena, the William A. Egan Convention and Civic Center, and the Anchorage Center for the Performing Arts; the final stage of the project, the Center for the Performing Arts, was completed in 1988. A collapse in world crude oil prices brought statewide recession in 1986, causing high unemployment rates and a population decrease in Anchorage.

Oil Spilled in Prince William Sound

Anchorage made international headlines on Good Friday, March 24, 1989, when the grounded oil tanker Exxon Valdez spilled nearly 11 million gallons of crude oil into nearby Prince William Sound, forming a slick that eventually reached into the Gulf of Alaska and beyond. Anchorage served as the command post for cleanup efforts costing more than $2.5 billion. Only a small amount of oil remained by the mid-1990s, and seals, whales, and bald eagles had returned to the region. U.S. government biologists and scientists for the Exxon Corporation continued to disagree over the issue of damage to animals, with Exxon contending that the damage was less than what government scientists claimed. In 1994 an Anchorage jury ordered Exxon Corp. to pay more than $5 billion to fishermen and others who could show that they had been financially hurt by the oil spill.

A Time of Growth

In the 1990s Anchorage began to experience record economic growth that continues today. The Anchorage Economic Development Corporation predicts an increase of 2,100 jobs in Anchorage for 2005, an increase of 1.5 percent over 2004. If that prediction holds true, the year will mark Anchorage's 17th straight year of job growth.

Alaska has become increasingly attractive as a tourist destination. Seventeen of the nation's twenty highest peaks reside in the state; six mountain ranges can be seen from Anchorage alone. In 2002, Anchorage was one of ten cities to receive the 2002 All-America City Award, an award designated by the National Civic League. The city's favorable business climate, commitment to education, thriving cultural life, and stunning natural beauty combine to make today's Anchorage a strong and growing city.

Historical Information: Anchorage Museum of History and Art Archives, 121 West Seventh Avenue, Anchorage, AK 99501; telephone (907)343-6189

Anchorage: Education and Research

views updated May 18 2018

Anchorage: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

The Anchorage School District prides itself on test scores that are better than state and national averages. The district's 50,000 students represent a diverse array of ethnic backgrounds. In the 1990s Anchorage voters approved more than $500 million in school construction that continues today. Two middle schools and nine elementary schools were built, and the new South Anchorage High School, serving 1,600 students, opened for the 2004-2005 school year. The new Eagle River High School will open in fall 2005 and will educate 800 students, relieving crowding at Chugiak High School. Many of the other Anchorage schools have undergone expansions or upgrades since 1990.

The school system is administered by a nonpartisan, seven-member school board that appoints a superintendent on the recommendation of a selection task force. The system faced budget hardships, making cuts to supplies and services in the 2004-2005 school year. A 2005-2006 budget was announced with hopes for increased funds, pending approval from state legislature.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Anchorage School District as of the 20042005 school year.

Total enrollment: 50,000

Number of facilities elementary schools: 59

middle schools: 9

senior high schools: 7

other: 1 middle/high school, 1 K-12 school, 1 vocational school, 10 specialized schools, 5 charter schools

Student/teacher ratio: 25:1

Teacher salaries

minimum: $35,284

maximum: $66,286

Funding per pupil: $8,764 (2001-2002)

A small percentage of students attend private and parochial schools in the Anchorage area.

Public Schools Information: Anchorage School District, 4600 DeBarr Road, Anchorage, AK 99508-3126; telephone (907)742-4000

Colleges and Universities

Anchorage boasts one of the highest percentages of residents with postsecondary degrees in the country. Two fully accredited universities are located there: the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA), which enrolls more than 17,000 students, and Alaska Pacific University, a private institution affiliated with the United Methodist church with about 700 enrolled students. Both institutions offer undergraduate degrees in a wide range of disciplines and master's degrees in such fields as biological sciences, business and management, logistics, and engineering. Also located in the Anchorage area are several vocational, specialty, and technical schools.

Libraries and Research Centers

In addition to its main branch downtown, the Anchorage Municipal Libraries system operates five branches throughout the city. Holdings consist of more than 452,000 books, nearly 1,700 periodical subscriptions, and films, records, tapes, art reproductions, and sheet music. Special collections at the system's main Loussac Library include the Alaska Collection, featuring more than 25,000 books and documents on Alaska and the North, and the Loussac Children's Collection, with materials for parents and people who work with children. Nearly 50 special libraries and research centers are located in Anchorage, most of them affiliated with the University of Alaska Anchorage and specializing in the fields of environment, natural resources, art, history, law, and education. ARLIS, or Alaska Resources Library and Information Services, features a collection of more than 200,000 books, 700 journals, and a variety of other sources of information about Alaska. Housed on the University of Alaska campus, ARLIS contains the collection of The Oil Spill Public Information Center, featuring scientific data from the Exxon Valdez oil spill damage. The National Center for Infectious Diseases Arctic Investigations Program seeks to improve the quality of life of arctic and subarctic people.

Public Library Information: Anchorage Municipal Libraries, 3600 Denali St., Anchorage, AK 99503; telephone (907)343-2975

Anchorage: Communications

views updated May 23 2018

Anchorage: Communications

Newspapers and Magazines

The major daily newspaper in Anchorage is the morning Anchorage Daily News. Several other newspapers are published in Anchorage, including Petroleum News, a paper covering the petroleum industry in Alaska and Canada; and the Sourdough Sentinel, a weekly covering happenings at Elmendorf Air Force Base. Also published in Anchorage are Northern Pilot Magazine, Alaska Business Monthly, which focuses on state business developments, and Senior Voice.

Television and Radio

Anchorage has four commercial television stations. The city is also served by cable television and by fourteen AM and FM radio stations broadcasting a variety of formats such as adult contemporary, country, and broadcasts from National Public Radio and American Public Radio.

Media Information: Anchorage Daily News, 1001 North-way Drive, PO Box 149001, Anchorage, AK 99514-9001; telephone (907)257-4200.

Anchorage Online

Alaska Department of Education and Early Development. Available

Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau. Available

Anchorage Daily News. Available

Anchorage Economic Development Corporation. Available

Anchorage Municipal Libraries. Available

Anchorage School District. Available

Municipality of Anchorage Home Page. Available

State of Alaska. Available

Selected Bibliography

Muir, John, Travels in Alaska (Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1915)

Rich, Kim, Johnny's Girl: A Daughter's Memoir of Growing Up in Alaska's Underworld (New York: Morrow, 1993)

Woodward, Kesler E., Painting in the North: Alaskan Art in the Anchorage Museum of History and Art. (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1993)

Anchorage: Population Profile

views updated Jun 11 2018

Anchorage: Population Profile

Metropolitan Area Residents

1980: 174,431

1990: 226,338

2000: 260,283

Percent change, 19902000: 15.0%

U.S. rank in 1980: 78th

U.S. rank in 1990: 69th

U.S. rank in 2000: 75th

City Residents

1980: 174,431

1990: 226,338

2000: 260,283

2003 estimate: 270,951

Percent change, 19902000: 15.0%

U.S. rank in 1980: 78th

U.S. rank in 1990: 69th (State rank: 1st)

U.S. rank in 2000: 75th (State rank: 1st)

Density: 153.4 people per square mile (2000)

Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)

White: 188,009

Black or African American: 15,199

American Indian and Alaska Native: 18,941

Asian: 14,433

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 2,423

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 14,799

Other: 5,703

Percent of residents born in state: 32.1% (2000)

Age characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 20,033

Population 5 to 9 years old: 21,867

Population 10 to 14 years old: 21,501

Population 15 to 19 years old: 19,662

Population 20 to 24 years old: 17,694

Population 25 to 34 years old: 40,113

Population 35 to 44 years old: 48,210

Population 45 to 54 years old: 38,803

Population 55 to 59 years old: 11,240

Population 60 to 64 years old: 6,918

Population 65 to 74 years old: 8,895

Population 75 to 84 years old: 4,284

Population 85 years and older: 1,063

Median age: 32.4 years

Births (2003)

Total number: 4,284

Deaths (2003)

Total number: 1,222 (of which, 19 were infants under the age of 1 year)

Money Income (1999)

Per capita income: $25,287

Median household income: $55,546

Total households: 95,080

Number of households with income of . . .

less than $10,000: 3,948

$10,000 to $14,999: 3,774

$15,000 to $24,999: 8,936

$25,000 to $34,999: 10,251

$35,000 to $49,999: 15,199

$50,000 to $74,999: 21,506

$75,000 to $99,999: 13,597

$100,000 to $149,999: 12,266

$150,000 to $199,999: 3,203

$200,000 or more: 2,400

Percent of families below poverty level: 5.1% (32.4% of which were female householder families with related children under 5)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 13,670


views updated May 23 2018


Anchorage: Introduction
Anchorage: Geography and Climate
Anchorage: History
Anchorage: Population Profile
Anchorage: Municipal Government
Anchorage: Economy
Anchorage: Education and Research
Anchorage: Health Care
Anchorage: Recreation
Anchorage: Convention Facilities
Anchorage: Transportation
Anchorage: Communications

The City in Brief

Founded: 1915 (incorporated, 1920)

Head Official: Mayor Mark Begich (since July 2003)

City Population (Anchorage municipality)

1980: 174,431

1990: 226,338

2000: 260,283

2003 estimate: 270,951

Percent change, 19902000: 15.0%

U.S. rank in 1980: 78th

U.S. rank in 1990: 69th (State rank: 1st)

U.S. rank in 2000: 75th (State rank: 1st)

Metropolitan Area Population

1980: 174,431

1990: 226,338

2000: 260,283

2003 estimate: 270,951

Percent change, 19902000: 15.0%

U.S. rank in 1980: 78th

U.S. rank in 1990: 69th

U.S. rank in 2000: 75th

Area: 1,955 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 132 feet above sea level

Average Annual Temperature: 35.8° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 15.71 inches of rain; 70.6 inches of snow

Major Economic Sectors: Government, trade, services, transportation (air)

Unemployment Rate: 5.1% (December 2004)

Per Capita Income: $25,287 (1999)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 13,670

Major Colleges and Universities: University of Alaska Anchorage, Alaska Pacific University

Daily Newspaper: Anchorage Daily News

Anchorage: Convention Facilities

views updated May 14 2018

Anchorage: Convention Facilities

Anchorage is rapidly gaining distinction as a convention and meeting site. The city's downtown convention center is within walking distance of fine restaurants, unique shops, and world-class cultural events. The extraordinary experience of enjoying first-class amenities in close proximity to untouched wilderness attracts an increasing number of groups to Anchorage yearly.

The principal meeting place in Anchorage is the William A. Egan Civic and Convention Center. The complex contains 45,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space accommodating groups of 20 to 2,776 people; other features include 189 custom exhibit areas, simultaneous interpreting facilities, and complete catering service. Across the street from Egan Center and adjoined by a skybridge is the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, which provides theater-style meeting halls seating 350 to 2,100 people.

In April 2005 voters will be asked to approve a 4 percent increase in hotel and motel taxes to help fund the new Anchorage Civic & Convention Center. Proponents of the new center say that the city's needs have outgrown the current Egan Civic and Convention Center. At a proposed cost of $93 million, the new center plans include a 50,000 square foot exhibit hall, a second 25,000 square foot multiuse exhibit hall, and several breakout rooms totaling 12,000 square feet. The proposal includes a covered walkway attaching the new center to the Egan Center.

Located 2 miles from downtown is the George M. Sullivan Arena, which accommodates trade shows with 32,000 square feet of usable space and parking for 1,800 vehicles. The Anchorage Museum of History and Art is available to host special events in its atrium. Other meeting facilities are available at the University of AlaskaAnchorage, Alaska Pacific University, and major hotels in the metropolitan area. In total, Anchorage features more than 8,000 hotel and motel rooms, and more than 850 beds in bed and breakfast and hostel accommodations.

Convention Information: Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau, 524 W. Fourth Ave., Anchorage, AK 99501; telephone (907)276-4118

Anchorage: Transportation

views updated May 29 2018

Anchorage: Transportation

Approaching the City

The majority of travelers come to Anchorage by plane, arriving at Anchorage International Airport, located ten minutes west of downtown. A major stop for transpolar flights, the airport is one of the busiest in the country and is served by more than 50 freight and passenger air carriers.

For those heading to Anchorage by car, the major route into the city is Alaska 1, which is Glenn Highway as it enters from the northeast and Seward Highway (scenic S.R. 1/9) as it enters from the south. The Alaska Railroad, headquartered in Anchorage, provides passenger rail service within Alaska.

Traveling in the City

Downtown Anchorage is laid out in a series of square blocks, a pattern typical of early western railroad towns. All lettered streets run north-south and numbered streets run east-west, with Northern Lights Boulevard dividing north from south and A Street dividing east from west.

Anchorage's bus-based public transit system is the People Mover, which provides a convenient way to see the city, as buses stop at major points of interest and extend to all suburbs. The Share-A-Ride service connects people living in the same area for car or vanpooling, and in some cases municipally-owned vans are provided. AnchorRides offers paratransit services to residents with disabilities. Four major taxi companies and several private shuttle companies offer transportations services throughout Anchorage.

Anchorage: Geography and Climate

views updated May 23 2018

Anchorage: Geography and Climate

Located in south-central Alaska in a wide valley, Anchorage is bordered on the west, north, and south by Knik Arm and Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet. The Chugach Mountains to the east have a general elevation of 4,000 to 5,000 feet, with peaks from 8,000 to 10,000 feet. These mountains block warm air from the Gulf of Mexico, keeping precipitation relatively low. The Alaska Range to the north protects the city from cold air from the state's interior; thus temperatures in Anchorage are usually 25 to 30 degrees warmer than temperatures in the rest of the state. While the area has four seasons, their length and characteristics differ from those of the middle latitudes; snows arrive in October and leave in mid-April, while annual average snowfall is seventy inches. Daylight hours vary from 19 in late June to 6 in late December.

Area: 1,955 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 132 feet above sea level

Average Temperatures: January, 20° F; July, 65° F; annual average, 35.8° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 15.71 inches of rain; 70.6 inches of snow