Soldotna council chips away at ice

Repairing bank damage on agenda

Posted: Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Huge chunks of ice flowing down the Kenai River this winter have made it onto the Soldotna City Council’s agenda.

Council members tonight are expected to set a public hearing for Feb. 28 on a $100,000 appropriation for damage assessment, repair and, or design for recovery from ice and flood damage along the river.

The council will also be asked to approve a resolution extending the disaster emergency declaration for the city.

“At this point it’s at least $1.25 million to replace what we’ve lost,” said City Manager Tom Boedeker on Monday.

Metal stairs leading into the river, docks and fishing platforms were torn from their moorings and mangled as the large ice floes made their way down river following the breakup of an ice dam and the release of water from Skilak Lake.

As the ice and debris slowly made its way down river, more water coming behind it caused flooding in some areas, particularly along Big Eddy Road just outside Soldotna.

Because of the importance of sportfishing to the Soldotna economy, Boedeker said some of the stairways and fishing platforms must be replaced before summer.

“Basically no entry points are serviceable,” he said, referring to popular Soldotna fishing areas at Rotary Park, Swiftwater Campground, Soldotna Creek Park and Centennial Campground.

“Some can be repaired for as little as $3,000; some will be up to $30,000 each,” Boedeker said.

He also said some of the city’s newer facilities, built with a stouter design, sustained much less damage than older walks.

“When the ice came up at Soldotna Creek Park, it peeled back the old walkway taking out about 100 feet of the new walkway,” Boedeker said. “Some of that ice moving down river was 20 feet above the water level.”

The city council also is expected to introduce an ordinance appropriating $1,150,000 for land and $2,752,632 for construction for an airport expansion.

Boedeker said the appropriations would allow for adding a gravel ski strip runway at the airport, building a separate service road inside the airport perimeter fence and improving apron lighting.

Robert Odom, national president of Love INC, is scheduled to address the council on plans for the Family Hope Center, a homeless shelter proposed for Soldotna.

The group is considering a 55-unit facility to be built on city land near the Alaska State Troopers “E” Detachment on Kalifornsky Beach Road.

The city has not yet made any decision on whether to donate the land for the project.

Boedeker also plans to ask the council whether it wants his office to prepare information for possible annexation of four areas neighboring the city.

City officials have said earlier, the annexation process takes at least two years.

The council meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.

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