The Soldotna City Council unanimously passed two resolutions at Wednesday night’s meeting.
The first resolution was the dedication of the Soldotna Council Chamber in memory of Patricia Burdick.
Burdick served as the Soldotna city clerk for 25 years, from 1978 to 2003.
Carol Freas, retired city clerk, advocated for the dedication of the chamber. Burdick was not only a mentor and “fountain of clerk knowledge” to Freas, who began her city clerk career in Kenai in 1990, but also a friend.
After the council passed the resolution, Mayor Nels Anderson smiled as he posed for photos with Burdick’s family whiling holding the dedication plaque.
Near the end of the meeting, during the councilmembers’ comments, councilmember Pete Sprague expressed his gratitude with the council chamber dedication.
“I’m really pleased that we did pass the resolution dedicating the council chambers to Pat Burdick’s memory,” he said. “She was the first clerk I had the pleasure to work with; she was an excellent resource and really helped me as newly elected councilmember to just kind of learn the ropes.”
The second resolution passed at the Wednesday meeting was to authorize City Manager Mark Dixson to enter a contract with PDC Inc. Engineers — based in Anchorage and Fairbanks — to develop the Soldotna Safe Routes to School Plan.
The city solicited proposals from professional consulting firms through advertisements in the Peninsula Clarion and the Anchorage Daily News in February.
Five proposals were received, evaluated and ranked by a committee. PDC Inc. Engineers was ranked as the first choice by each committee member, and a contract was negotiated with the company in the amount of $59,900.
The plan is funded through a $65,600 grant from the State of Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.
Stephanie Queen, director of planning and community development, said the resolution will allow PDC Inc. Engineers to gather public input, evaluate their findings, make recommendations and develop the plan. The city will likely work closely with the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District to get information to the public and gather input. The plan will include the Soldotna elementary schools and the middle school.
Vice mayor and councilmember Brenda Hartman was curious if the plan would include safe houses to and from school.
“If there’s a moose out there or something and they (students) feel like they need to get to a house or something on their way, I didn’t know if that was part of this plan,” she said.
Queen said she expects some of the recommendations will include cost estimates, infrastructure needs and programmatic ideas such as bike trails and parents walking students to and from school buses.
Councilmember John Czarnezki said that when he’s taken his daughter to school he’s noticed kids in the winter struggle to get through the snow. He said he is “really excited about this program.”
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