Dear Mr. Koch (Kenai City Manager),
I just finished reading the article from the Peninsula Clarion this morning "Kenai looks to build" (Oct. 27) and as I thought about what I was reading I felt the need to comment. I have lived in the North Kenai/Kenai area for approximately 25 years and I love it because it offers a wonderful place to raise children and it is truly a community based city.
I chose Kenai because it is not as busy as Soldotna in the summer months and you know most of the people who have lived here any length of time. Our Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Centers are supportive of business and industry and celebrate it each year with Industrial Days to show their support. The local businesses support all sporting events, Boys and Girls Club, safety days with the fire department and many other charitable functions in our area. We have a wonderful community and support system in our area and I am honored to be a part of it.
As I read this article I was in much agreement with the City of Kenai needing to promote development and growth to our city. I was not in agreement with the fact that we need to build more buildings when the ones that are already built are vacant and unimproved. Mr. Koch is encouraging developing a new area that has been being developed by the training facility, oil companies, juvenile detention center, utility company, airport, and Wal-Mart. Yet, downtown Kenai has so many buildings that are being sold, leased or vacant that could be utilized. By the City of Kenai promoting to build new buildings at the cost to tax payers and leaving the private owners vacancies it creates a direct competition to the tax payers and an unnecessary cost to the city.
I am currently finishing my Bachelors Degree in Business Management and Accounting and one of my assignments was to go to the city I live (or closest city) and review their business web page, Chamber of Commerce web page, and the Economic Development web page to compare their usefulness to a new business owner. I was embarrassed about the City of Kenai's business page because very little of the information on it had anything to do with business. It was about the fishing going on in the area, the sporting events going on, and the chain of command in the City of Kenai's government. They had three links at the bottom of the page with links to the State of Alaska, Doing Business in Alaska web page and the third was a link to the Chamber of Commerce. I would like to remind you that I do love the City of Kenai so I am not trying to discredit this area at all. I would just like to see the City be a bit conservative and utilize the facilities we already have.
If I was to look for the best possible place to open a business between Kenai and Soldotna and was researching it for my Business Marketing Plan I would never even consider the Kenai area. There was no information available or incentive information for the City of Kenai for a reason to invest in the Kenai area. Their web page stinks and if I can put a business in a City who at least has an attractive web page to promote the local businesses in the area that is where I will put my investments. The Chamber of Commerce has a lot of information on their page and a calendar of events so that the businesses can participate in the local functions going on in the area. They have regular meetings and are open to new members. The Economic Development Center offers assistance in organizing a new business so that the business is in compliance with local, state, and federal regulations along with some financial loan assistance through SBA.
So, with all of this information I would like to challenge Mr. Koch, City of Kenai Manager, to give a tax credit for business owners to invest in their businesses and promote growth, spend time getting the City of Kenai, Business Development web page developed to promote local businesses and give a reason to invest in the Kenai area, have and work with the buildings that have no tenants in them to fill up with new businesses along with the promotion of real estate in our area that is already available before being so willing to spend tax dollars to promote buildings that will be vacant in the future, such as Lowes, that the community has to support financially until a new business is interested in investing.
Thank you for your time and listening.