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Facelift on the way for city hall, council says

Posted: July 29, 2011 - 7:00am

Soldotna City Hall will be getting a facelift this summer thanks to the recent passage of a resolution by the Soldotna City Council.

The council unanimously approved a resolution Wednesday night authorizing city manager Larry Semmens to execute a more than $250,000 contract with Dan Sterchi Construction, Inc. for the city hall front entry renovation.

The project includes installing a canopy to cover the wheelchair-accessible ramp, re-pouring the stairs, and mending the crack-laden retaining walls.

The primary reason for the renovations is so the city can be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. City engineer Kyle Kornelis said the wheelchair ramp is currently exposed to the elements during winter months - hence the canopy - and the present rise and run of the stairs is not ADA-approved.

Kornelis said landscaping will not be adjusted, although some trees will have to be removed and replanted elsewhere to accommodate the new improvements.

He estimates the project will completed by the end of this construction season.

The resolution authorizing Semmens to contract with the construction company came before the council during their July 13 meeting, but hit a snag that pushed it to this week.

Councilmember Regina Daniels announced during the previous meeting that she had a conflict of interest regarding the resolution, as her company Davis Block had provided bids to contractors for the supply of materials on the project.

Councilmembers Nels Anderson and Kyle Fisher were absent, leaving only three council members able to vote, but four votes are required to pass a resolution, or even to postpone one. Without postponement or passage, the resolution would automatically fail.

After 15 minutes of checking the rule books, Mayor Peter Micciche decided they had to call either Anderson or Fisher and have them appear telephonically to vote to postpone the resolution to keep it from failing and thus imposing a major delay on the project.

Fisher, who was on vacation, ultimately answered Micciche's phone call.

"It is nice to know this council literally cannot function without me," Fisher joked at Wednesday's meeting.

Aside from finally approving the city hall renovation resolution, the council also formally appropriated the $1.2 million for the small capital projects fund. The majority of the money will go toward street improvements, including the Birch Street traffic light installation, Riverside Drive rehabilitation, and the North Soldotna Avenue sinkhole repair.

Other city facilities receiving a slice of the funding include the sports center, the new cemetery, Soldotna Creek Park, and the skate park.

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