Clock in Chief Alex Park tells wrong time

Thursday, February 9, 2017 - 12:19
  • Star photo by Matt Tunseth

UPDATE: At the Wednesday, Feb. 8 meeting of the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber, Chugiak-Eagle River Foundation representative Jim Palmer said the group has decided to donate $1,000 to help pay to fix the clock tower.

“Hopefully the clock will be working soon,” Palmer told the chamber.

ORIGINAL STORY:

On their 1969 album “Chicago Transit Authority,” the group Chicago posed the philosophical query, “Does anybody really know what time it is?”

That’s a hard question; in Eagle River’s Chief Alex Park, it’s especially baffling.

“It ran pretty well until the fall, and then one side stopped working,” said Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce executive director Dana Thorp Patterson.

For the second time in two winters, the clock in the park is broken. A recent drive by the four-faced clock — which forms the top of a 16-foot-tall obelisk in the park alongside the Old Glenn Highway — showed two of its four sides displaying the wrong time.

“I can’t help but think the cold does something to it,” she said.

The chamber has been raising money to get the clock fixed. Thorp-Patterson said the cost is likely to be more than $1,000. Last time the clock had to be fixed, it set the chamber back $1,500. Donations have been trickling in; at a recent chamber meeting, the winner of the split-the-pot raffled donated the winnings to the effort.

The chamber pays to maintain the park, which greets visitors to Eagle River just as they pull into the central business district coming off the Glenn Highway. In addition to the clock tower, the park includes two gardens and a rock “Welcome to Eagle River” sign topped with a large ceramic eagle built in 2011. The chamber has maintained the park since 1983.

It took the chamber four years to raise the estimated $65,000 to $70,000 needed to build the clock. Weighing 15,000 pounds, the 10-foot precast concrete tower was installed in the spring of 2006. The 6-foot-tall clock was installed shortly thereafter and dedicated in a May 25, 2006 ceremony, according to a story in the Star that year.

Thorp-Patterson said the park costs about $10,000 per year to maintain, so she’s hopeful to find out what’s ailing the clock once and for all.

“My goal is to find out what the problem is,” she said.

The park maintenance is funded through donations from private citizens and corporations.

The chamber’s next big fundraiser is coming up on April 22 when the group will host its annual Beautification Tea. Thorp-Patterson hopes to raise money for the park as well as something new for downtown Eagle River.

“All of the money goes to Chief Alex Park and banners in the business district,” she said.

Thorp-Patterson said she’d like to buy some summertime banners in order to add some flair to the core downtown area this year.

Mayor plans local office hours

Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz will be keeping office hours on Thursday, Feb. 9 from 5 to 6 p.m. at the chamber’s offices at 12001 Business Boulevard.

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