Kenai talks trees

Work session scheduled on airport tree removal

Kenai’s airport is continuing to grow, but not without pains.

 

The city of Kenai will hold a work session Tuesday night about the tree removal project at Kenai Municipal Airport. The consultants, Wince-Corthell-Bryson Consulting Engineers, that are working with the city and the Federal Aviation Administration on the project will be at the 6 p.m. meeting to explain the project to the public.

On the agenda for the work session is a presentation from that firm, and opportunity for the council and the public to discuss what is happening.

The Federal Aviation Administration sets certain regulations and practices that must be followed at the Kenai airport.

Last January, the city received a letter of correction informing it that trees around the airport were not in compliance with FAA regulations, which specify that there must be a certain amount of clearance for visibility during airplane landings. The FAA paid for the city to have a study done about the problem.

When the results came in and were publicized, residents were taken by surprise. The report recommended either chopping or trimming 2,600 trees. The decision about how to bring the 2,300 trees on city property into compliance is likely going to be made by the FAA, but the draft Environmental Assessment says that property owners will be part of the decision for trees on their own land. There are about 300 trees on private property near the airport that are part of the project.

According to correspondence between airport manager Mary Bondurant and FAA representative Gabriel Mahns, tree removal would likely go out to bid in April if the FAA directs the city to go that route.

The letter that addressed the city’s tree issues also said the airport needed to work on its runway marking and lighting.

Despite the needed work, the airport is continuing to grow. 

Kenai’s city council heard a presentation from Alaska Permanent Capital Management’s Bert Wagnon on the airport’s endowment at a January meeting. Wagnon updated the council on the status of the airport’s endowment, which is managed by APCM.

The city opened that fund in 2008, with a beginning balance of $17.4 million. At the end of 2011, the fund was worth a little more than $23.3 million, according to Wagnon.

The council followed Wagnon’s advice, and opted not to change the investment strategies for the fund.

 

Molly Dischner can be reached at molly.dischner@peninsulaclarion.com.

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