The City and Borough of Sitka (CBS) acquired the site from Alaska Pulp Corporation in April 1999. About 80 acres of uplands and 130 acres of deeded tidelands were transferred to CBS. An additional 16 acres of uplands at nearby Herring Cove were also transferred to CBS.
In a three-party agreement, the State of Alaska agreed to indemnify CBS for contamination at the mill site that existed prior to conveyance. CBS agreed to manage the site under certain guidelines. The terms are described in the Memorandum of Understanding.
Restrictions were placed by the State on the uplands that 24-hour occupancy by humans at the site was not allowed. These restrictions were lifted by the State Attorney General in early 2005.
CBS agreed to monitor the sea floor offshore of the site (the Area of Concern) for 40 years. The next round of monitoring will be done in 2009/2010.
APC also transferred substantial water rights from nearby Blue Lake to CBS. In summary the Industrial Park has:
- 17.4 million gallons per day of fresh water for industrial use
- 26.1 million gallons per day of fresh water for export as bulk water or bottled water
Ordinance No. 2000-1568
In April 2000, the CBS Assembly enacted Ordinance No. 2000-1568 which added Chapter 2.38 to Title 2 of the Sitka General Code, establishing rules and procedures governing leases and property management at the former Alaska Pulp Corporation mill site.
The ordinance declared the purpose of acquiring the former pulp mill site. To wit:
Unlike other property owned by the municipality, the former Alaska Pulp Corporation mill site was acquired not for governmental purposes from the state or federal government, but for economic development and disposal. In general, the property will not be used for public improvements. It will be leased or sold to individuals and corporations to develop business opportunities and provide jobs. For that reason, it is important to enact a procedure for property management and disposal at the site which more closely corresponds to private sector disposals.
To carry out the goal of developing business opportunities and providing jobs at the former mill site, the ordinance created the Gary Paxton Industrial Park Board of Directors and authorized it to "generally exercise all powers necessary and incidental to operation of all Gary Paxton Industrial Park facilities in the public interest and in a sound business manner."
The Board members are appointed by the elected Assembly of the Sitka Borough.