Recent Project Grants

Project Awarded Dollar-For-Dollar Challenge Grant from Rasmuson Foundation

In 2003 Seward was one of the few port towns in Alaska without a mariners’ memorial. Our seaside, ice-free port defines us. Those who traveled its waters have charted our history. Our mission in constructing a memorial site is to honor the memory of local mariners who have lost their lives at sea or contributed to our local seafaring and maritime industry. We have come a long way since 2003. We are inviting all members of our shoreside, maritime and fishing community to join us to help see the project to completion. Through a generous grant, the Rasmuson Foundation will match all donations, dollar-for-dollar up to $20,000 raised through May 2014. Although we received grants from the Seward Community Foundation and the Kenai Mountains Turnagain Arm Community Trust to help fund this project, we need the Rasmuson Challenge Grant to meet our fundraising goal for Phase 2 of the project.

The memorial is located on city owned property on the harbor breakwater and can be seen by boats passing into and out of the harbor. The Seward Mariners’ Memorial is designed to be constructed in three phases.

  • Phase 1 (completed May 2012) a lighthouse replica housing memorial plaques was constructed on the property and fully paid with fundraising to date ($50K).
  • Phase 2 ($55K) is underway to complete a 75’ diameter compass rose landscape platform surrounding the lighthouse. The committee has chosen a paver tile over compacted sub-base construction with poured concrete borders and internal demarcations for the compass rose. Timeline for completion is fall 2013.
  • Phase 3 (2014 and approximately $80K) will see installation of a ship’s bell, wave wall and landscaping with benches. This plan will involve Seward’s artisans to help add murals, artistic enhancements and a statue of a woman looking out to sea on the upper floor depicting the “widow’s walk” theme from historic ports. A section of the memorial site will be dedicated to victims of the 1964 earthquake and other historic maritime events that have occurred in our area.
Contributing to the project now will have more impact than ever before, doubling your donation. Your tax deductible gift will be matched dollar for dollar by the Rasmuson Foundation. The Seward Mariners’ Memorial is under the auspices of the 2003 Seward Centennial’s 501(c)(3).

The dream is becoming reality.
Upon completion the memorial will be presented as a gift to the City of Seward. The facility will then be owned and maintained by the City and operated as a memorial by the Seward Mariners’ Memorial Committee to oversee placement of plaques and staging events.

Please make your donation payable to the Seward Mariners’ Memorial, PO Box 3544 Seward Alaska and indicate Rasmuson Challenge Grant #7382 or contact Nancy Erickson at 491-1639.
Thank you so much for your consideration and we hope to hear from you soon.

The Seward Mariners' Memorial Project

Seward resident Nina Daley latched onto the idea of a Seward Mariners’ Memorial in 2002 while serving as Vice-Commodore of the Kenai Fjords Yacht Club (KFYC). The club had not had an inspiring community project to work on since 1992 when KFYC designed and installed the first escape ladders on the harbor’s floating docks.
Over the years, a few memorial plaques were mounted on harbor-area railings and the harbor plaza, but a special spot to commemorate lives lost at sea was lacking. A dedicated mariners’ memorial would serve the dual purpose of housing memorial plaques as well as a dedicated location in which to host the annual Blessing of the Fleet and other ceremonies.

Active members of KFYC discussed potential locations and solicited ideas for the memorial’s theme. An early site plan called for a deck extending from the boardwalk above E and F floats displaying a bronze ship’s bell. The site was favored at the time as a convenient central location with ADA accessibility and a good view of the harbor. With full support of then Harbormaster Jim Beckham, KFYC Commodore Daley brought the proposal before the Seward City Council in June 2003 requesting commitment of the location, but was declined.

KFYC continued to seek additional community input and support, holding meetings and soliciting design ideas, including a presentation to the Seward Rotary Club. While in Homer that winter, Nina contacted an individual who had been active in the establishment and maintenance of that port town’s spectacular Seafarer’s Memorial and brought that information back to KFYC.

In March 2004, KFYC deposited $1,000 in First National Bank in a Seward Mariners’ Memorial Fund account under the umbrella non-profit 2003 Seward Centennial organization. The fund was designed to show the community that KFYC was serious in its intent and to provide a secure, clearly restricted fund for future donations to the project.

Nina drafted resolutions of support for the Seward Port and Commerce Advisory Board, the Historic Preservation Commission, and the Planning and Zoning Commission. New Harbormaster Scott Ransom became a steadfast supporter of the project. All resolutions were eventually passed. Letters of support were obtained from then Borough Assemblyman Ron Long, Seward Rotary Club, Seward Economic Development Council, Seward Chamber of Commerce, Alaska Sea Life Center, Harbor Business Association, and respected fishermen and business leaders.

Following Nina’s move to Homer in October 2004, Sue Kaanta was elected KFYC Commodore in March 2005 and became the Mariners’ Memorial chief proponent. Design ideas continued to surface and evolve, always incorporating the ship’s bell that could be rung for ceremonies.

Meanwhile, the City of Seward passed a harbor expansion plan that included a new section of upland fill along the south end of the harbor, offering another excellent potential site for a memorial. KFYC immediately set about soliciting support for a memorial park at the southeast end of the new uplands overlooking Resurrection Bay.

A Seward Mariners’ Memorial committee was officially formed in 2008 with Nancy Erickson as president, Ron Long vice president and Sue Kaanta secretary/treasurer.

Following completion of the south harbor uplands, the City of Seward dedicated a 100’X100’ site for the memorial. Anchorage engineering firm Tryck Nyman Hayes included the memorial site in a conceptual plan for the new harbor uplands.


Resolutions of support can be seen on the City of Seward Web site under Legislative History:

PACAB Resolution 2004-07, Sept. 1, 2004
Historic Preservation Commission Resolution 2006-1, Feb. 15, 2006
Planning and Zoning Commission Resolution 2006-10, April 4, 2006
City of Seward Resolution 2006-049, May 8, 2006