New stairway will connect harbor to First Street

A lighted stairway is planned to connect Railroad Avenue to First Street. The stairway will connect to the side of the Cordova Center, seen here on Sunday, July 14, 2019. Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

Construction of a lighted stairway connecting First Street to Railroad Avenue is planned to begin around the summer of 2021. The stairway, costing $417,000, will be funded principally by a grant from the Alaska Transportation Alternatives Program.

Ascending from nearby the Bob Korn Memorial Pool to the Cordova Center, the stairway will be covered and will feature metal grid flooring that will prevent precipitation from pooling. A stairway from Railroad Avenue was part of the original design for the Cordova Center, but was left off in order to allow the center to open more promptly.

Currently, the most direct route from Cordova Harbor to the center of town involves walking up a steep, gravelly path that serves as a snow dump during the winter.

“It has always been part of the Cordova Center design from the beginning to provide a thoroughfare to Main Street,” said Samantha Greenwood, director of public works for the City of Cordova. “It’s safe. It will keep people off icy roads in the winter, and some people, I’m sure, will be using it as a workout option.”

The stairway may feature a bench or platform partway up, although a design has yet to be finalized.