KEDS makes way for its plan

Posted: Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Paving the way for completion of a final draft of its development strategy, the Kenai Economic Development Strategy working group held a public meeting Saturday at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center.

"It was really an opportunity for people to communicate," said Tim Navarre, co-chair of the KEDS committee.

The committee started meeting last year to develop an economic development strategy for the city of Kenai. It developed a draft plan focusing on five areas: education and work force development, quality of life, business development, enhancing the city's infrastructure and making the community a destination.

In addition, planners included a proposal to develop a 21.4 acre parcel of land near the Kenai Senior Citizens Center into a town square called Millennium Square. The land overlooks the Kenai River off Bridge Access Road.

Roy Wells, co-chair of the KEDS committee and president of the Kenai Chamber of Commerce, said the public meeting raised issues such as whether tourism is good for the city. He said it is important for the committee to get a feel for what the community wants.

He also said one person suggested adding a section to the document showing support for the Kenai Community Library and advocating for a library expansion.

Wells said those present at the meeting also voiced support for Millennium Square.

Andy Varner, economic development coordinator for the city of Kenai, said he heard people at the meeting saying different things could be done to market the city as a destination.

Navarre said that, during the public comment period, the committee tried to visit with a variety of community organizations to garner feedback that could be incorporated into a final draft.

The committee will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center to begin incorporating the comments into a final draft.

Wells said the formal comment period will end at the meeting when the committee begins to turn the draft into a final document. He said there will be no major overhauls to the document — only additions.

After a final draft is completed, a steering committee will be formed to implement the plan, he said.

For more information on KEDS, call 283-8240.

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