Kenai mayor pitches idea of trading city land for armory

Posted: Sunday, January 13, 2002

KENAI (AP) -- In an attempt to acquire a ready-made community center for the city, Kenai Mayor John Williams is pitching a trade of municipal land for the Army National Guard's armory.

Williams floated the idea to the Alaska Army Guard director, Brig. Gen. Stephen Korenek, during his visit to the Kenai armory Wednesday.

''If we can effect some kind of a transfer between the old National Guard facility and the city and a new national guard facility, then we can have a win-win situation,'' Williams said.

The mayor's plan calls for offering the Guard airport property. Williams suggested including room in any new facility for a hangar to house Air National Guard aircraft, thus making it a joint venture between the Army and Air guards.

Korenek said the guard has no immediate need for a new armory, but said there was a possibility for such a trade to work.

''We'd be happy to work with the city,'' he said. ''It's a matter of having a plan that works. It would enhance funding if there were a joint effort with the Army and Air national guards.''

To initiate such a trade, the community would have to demonstrate a need for the current facility and the municipality would have to be prepared to deal, he said.

''Any kind of contribution would help,'' Korenek said. ''In Nome, the community is contributing a piece of property and some utility connections.''

City Manager Linda Snow said the city may have the ability to offer similar contributions.

''One of the biggest assets we do have is property,'' Snow said. ''At one time, the city did set aside property for a new National Guard armory, but it was repealed.''

Korenek said building a new armory would require approval from state and federal officials. Korenek said three other cities, Juneau, Nome and Bethel, are already in the process of getting new armories approved.

Williams said he would take the idea back to the city council and local organizations for review.

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