Kenai looking for residents' ideas to grow the economy

Posted: Friday, February 02, 2001

As the adage goes: When it rains, it pours.

This weekend it's raining activities on the Kenai Peninsula.

In addition to the start of the Tustumena 200 Sled Dog Race and the Peninsula Winter Games, Saturday is the day Kenai has set aside to look at ways to revitalize and expand the economic diversity of the city.

It's not easy for most people to give up a Saturday for serious business when they work hard all week long -- especially a Saturday when there's a lot of other activity going on. But the city needs ideas from its residents -- the more, the better.

A varied group of voices will enlarge the scope of opportunities that will be discussed; it will help develop a broader vision for the city.

The idea is to find ways to make what's good about Kenai even better and how to remedy things on the needs-improvement list -- particularly as they relate to economic development.

During discussions about the economic forum, some Kenai officials have expressed dismay about businesses leaving the city for elsewhere on the peninsula. While Kenai certainly needs to discover why and to what extent this is true, we hope economic development projects and proposals won't pit peninsula communities against one another, vying for this dollar and that business.

While individual economic forums also are planned later for Soldotna, Nikiski, Homer, Seward and other places on the peninsula, we hope they will result in a commitment from communities to work together on projects large and small that will improve the quality of life throughout the peninsula, not just their corner of it.

Saturday's forum begins at 9 a.m. at the Kenai Senior Center.

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