The city of Soldotna will spend $1 million upgrading the gravel roads and extending public utilities to Sterling Street and Kingfisher Court.
Both phases of the project will cost an estimated $1,073,193. At its Wednesday meeting, Soldotna City Council allocated $620,000 for the road-upgrade portion of the project. The city had already appropriated $521,000 to install the public utilities.
The city awarded the contract to North Star Paving & Construction, Inc., out of Soldotna. City Engineer Kyle Kornelis said the project will begin in the next few weeks, however the final date is still to be determined.
The contractor will pave about 1,555 feet of the two roadways, according to Kornelis’s memo to the city manager. Street improvements include concrete curbs, gutters and a sidewalk down the west side of roadway.
Contractors will also extend 1,615 feet of water-main pipe, 546 feet of sewer-main pipe and 110 feet of storm-sewer pipe to the properties along the roadway, according to the memo.
The city will split the road upgrades costs with those properties along the roadway, said Stephanie Queen, city director of economic development and planning. Because the 21 properties are set within a special assessment district, the city will pay 75 percent and the property owners will pay the remaining 25 percent, she said.
Each property owner will pay an estimated $5,736.67, she said.
The allocation method is new, she said. The city adopted it in February, and the project will be the first to implement it, she said. The previous method split project costs in half between the city and its residents, she said.
At Wednesday’s council meeting, however, four residents who own properties along the road spoke against the project. Cherri Odens said the project will not benefit her and her husband’s property. They live at the corner of West River Avenue and South Sterling Street.
“We really are not excited about this,” Odens said.
Paving the street will increase their property’s tax value, she said. They don’t want that, and they don’t need sidewalks, she said. They like the street as it is, she said; it’s quiet.
“We feel like it’s being rammed down our throats and we’re really not happy about it,” she said. “That’s kind of my two cents.”
But Mayor Nels Anderson said complaints are the nature of public projects.
“Unfortunately when you do public things it affects people adversely as well as positively,” Anderson said.
Dan Schwartz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.