PRISM plan a go; highway widening discussed

Kenai council approves management contract, talks about making Spur four lanes to Soldotna

Posted: Monday, January 08, 2007

Anticipating the transfer of the Kenai fire training center management to the state fire marshal’s office, a health and safety training consultant from Anchorage was in town Wednesday night wooing the city council.

Holly Highland, proprietor of Beacon Occupational Health and Safety Services, told Kenai City Council members her firm has partnered with the previous manager of the Pacific Rim Institute of Safety Management (PRISM) center in the past and “would like to continue to be involved if the need exists under the state fire marshal.”

The Division of Fire Prevention is scheduled to take over management of the PRISM Center from AAI Services Inc., a subsidiary of United Industries, which operated the fire training center since it opened eight years ago.

AAI informed the city in June it did not intend to renew its contract.

Highland said her firm manages training clinics throughout the North Slope, on the Aleutian Chain and in Juneau, offering training in hazardous materials handling as well as health and safety. She also said Beacon has hired Bob Lee, a former PRISM instructor.

During considerations of suggested amendments to the state agreement, Council member Barry Eldridge asked, “What’s left as far as a trainer, now that Bob Lee has been hired off by Beacon?”

City Manager Rick Koch said the Division of Fire Prevention has “a complete training unit” contained within the division. The council approved the recommended amendments, which Koch is to take back to the fire marshal to finalize the management agreement.

During the mayor’s report, Pat Porter told the council she and administration staff members had met with state Sen. Tom Wagoner and a representative from the Department of Transportation a Public Facilities to discuss expanding the Kenai Spur Highway to four lanes all the way from Kenai to Soldotna.

Porter said, in order to save about 25 percent of the cost, the project might be completed under city rather than state direction.

Koch said the city would contract out to the same consultants used by DOT. The council nodded in favor of the city moving forward with the discussions.

The city manager also said he met with DOT on anticipated traffic impacts due to the proposed Wal-Mart store, which is to be built behind the Kenai Chrysler Center.

“Marathon Road probably would be right turn in and right turn out, and there would be a (traffic) light at Rogers Road,” Koch said.

In other business, Porter said letters are being sent to Kenai businesses seeking their support of a tree-planting project along Willow Street.

The city is considering planting Canadian cherry trees along both sides of the business thoroughfare, as they are fast growing and “relatively moose resistant,” according to a flyer being sent to the businesses. The trees, which cost $250 each, would be planted this spring.

Phil Hermanek can be reached at phillip.hermanek@

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