Setting up shop: Kenai opens doors to new city facility

The City of Kenai will open its bay doors to the new city shop for the public to see this Saturday.

The 18,000-square-foot maintenance facility that cost $4.3 million from state capital grants and general fund reserves was substantially completed last month, said Kenai City Manager Rich Koch.

The city shop, located at 550 Daubenspeck Circle off of Marathon Road, will be open for a public open house from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday. Hamburgers, hot dogs and beverages will be provided. City employees will offer a tour of the building and the large heavy equipment that can fit inside.

“We want the public to see what we did with their money,” Koch said. “It is your building as much as it is ours.”

Blazy Construction began construction on the shop last August. Koch said the new facility would increase the productivity of city maintenance employees who now have the space and improved working conditions to assemble, store and upkeep the largest of the 400 pieces of city equipment.

With five overhead doors, four of which are 24 feet wide, there is adequate space for drive-in repairs of large vehicles like the fire ladder truck, Koch said.

The 50-year-old city shop and equipment storage building located on Willow Street was 4,000 square feet and had been inadequate for more than 30 years, he said.

“Much of the equipment fleet was kept outside, which increased electrical and maintenance costs to warm up the machines during the winter months,” Koch said.

Koch said the city would be able to save money now that they have moved from the old city shop, which they leased from the airport.

The city of Kenai received $2 million in state appropriations for the new facility. Koch said for the last five years he was able to build up the city general reserve fund to pay for the rest.

This year the city was awarded $1.9 million capital grant from the Legislature to build a storage building next to the maintenance shop. Having ample space for the Public Works Department on one campus will greatly improve efficiency of city services, he said.

 

Reach Dan Balmer at daniel.balmer@peninsulaclarion.com.

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