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Nikiski updates community action plan

Posted: December 4, 2012 - 9:55pm

During its last regular meeting of the year, the Nikiski Community Council on Monday unanimously approved a revised version of the area’s community action plan.

Some of the projects outlined in the plan will start during the first quarter of 2013, said David Phegley, North Peninsula Community Council vice president.

After approval of the community action plan, the council considered options for improving the area’s image mainly through junk car removal. The council briefly discussed its largest project, a Nikiski public park.

The council held a forum Nov. 3 to solicit recommendations for the action plan. About 32 participants attended the forum, according to the council.

The original action plan was written in 2001. The North Peninsula Community Council, now operating as Nikiski Community Council, gathered residents’ concerns through the 2000 Nikiski Days “Fun in the Sun” survey. The council received 128 completed surveys.

The top concern for the community was lack of road service; the second concern was abandoned vehicles and buildings.

The council asked the November forum participants “What bugs you about Nikiski?” The number one response was “unsightly junk cars, abandoned buildings (and) trash sites with old appliances.”

Additional responses included the community’s unseen level of poverty, its lack of law enforcement and the lack of bike paths, among others.

Using those responses, the council updated the action plan with five major goals:

■ Promoting the clean-up and beautification of the area.

■ Protection and preservation of the quality of life for the area.

■ Improving and expanding the area’s transportation network.

■ Promoting community development projects that provide economic benefits.

■ And the newest goal, promoting safety and health of the area’s residents.

Some of the goals contain multiple objectives. Goal A, clean-up and beautification, includes six action items. The first action item aims to establish a program that incentivizes residents to participate in improving Nikiski’s image. The second action item would create a support program for residents wanting to dispose of abandoned vehicles.

Goal D, community development projects, consists of four objectives; the fourth objective is the promotion of tidal power.

None of the action plan’s goals are meant to take precedent over others, the council members said. The council will decide what projects to address during the coming months, they said.

“We have stuck very close to the comprehensive plan in the past,” said council secretary and treasurer Audrey Johnson.

“We want to know what the community wants,” Phegley said. “We don’t want to just throw money around.”

The entire action plan will be posted on the council’s website, www.nikiskicc.com.

Council members agreed that while they plan to address the plan’s goals in a non-linear fashion, the removal of junk cars is important to all of them. The removal of junk cars is an ongoing process, they said.

Nikiski received two state grants for fiscal year 2013, a community revenue sharing (CRS) grant totaling $27,756 and a junk car removal grant for $100,000.

The council asked for volunteers to form a junk car removal action committee. Informing residents of all the options, once established, is important, Phegley said. Removal methods change each year, he said.

Funds also are being requested from the Legislature. The council hopes to build a park with beach access and views of the area in the near future; it is requesting $500,000 for the project. The project’s estimated cost is $1 million.

The council has asked for park funding in the past to no avail.

The meeting ended with community member Bonnie Miller highlighting the upcoming holiday lighting contest “Nikiski Night Lights.” Residents are encouraged to decorate their businesses and homes. More information is available on the council’s website. Dec. 15 is the deadline to submit an entry.

Nikiski Community Council will hold its next meeting on Jan. 21, 2013.

Jerzy Shedlock can be reached at jerzy.shedlock@peninsulaclarion.com.

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