City sizes up its project list

Street, park, building improvements considered

Soldotna city engineer Kyle Kornelis outlined his list of proposed park, street, and building improvements for the city council during a Wednesday night work session.

The projects, which will be financed with $1.2 million from the general fund if approved by the council during their next meeting, include upgrading certain streets from gravel to pavement, installing a pavilion and restrooms at Soldotna Creek Park, and beginning preliminary work on the Birch Street traffic light installation.

Kornelis noted that street projects comprise a proposed 65 percent of the $1.2 million budget, while parks take up 25 percent and buildings about 10 percent.

"The emphasis on streets will address many deficiencies throughout the city and will improve service to our community and travelling public," he wrote in a memo to the city staff.

Porcupine Court, located near the wastewater treatment plant and the animal control center, is slated for ditch and drainage improvements. It will also be upgraded from gravel to pavement, as it is situated in a residential and commercial district and also sees heavy use by the city.

Other areas scheduled for improvements under the proposal are the North Soldotna Avenue sinkhole, the Kobuk/Sterling drainage, and a patch of Riverside Drive. The $180,000 devoted to the Birch Street traffic light should get the ball rolling on the design and planning stages of the project, Kornelis said.

On the parks side of things, $200,000 will be put aside for the construction of a pavilion and restrooms at Soldotna Creek Park, although the city is currently seeking a $150,000 grant to offset much of that cost.

Soldotna youth were excited to hear about the $15,000 allocated for upgrades to their skate park, Kornelis said, which will include a "spine ramp" and dirt BMX trail if the proposal is accepted.

The street and capital projects master plan, which will help prioritize the city's improvement goals, will get $125,000. The city will hire a consultant to conduct extensive research and then compile it into one, all-encompassing document to be used by Kornelis and other city officials.

"This will be an invaluable planning document that will really help us move forward," Kornelis said. "The consultant will be tasked with identifying a lot of our needs, some of our long-term goals, and specific needs for our facilities."

Factors that will be examined include community growth, pedestrian use, and present and future level of service.

Kornelis believes his proposal will pass during the July 27 council meeting with little to no change, as council members seemed happy with it at the work session.

If the ordinance passes, Kornelis said he will start scheduling the design, planning, and construction for the projects to get a better timetable for their completion.


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