The city of Kenai plans improvements to the public boat launch at the mouth of the Kenai River.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Battling the elements might be a good way to summarize what central Kenai Peninsula large cities have on the horizon for big projects this year.
In Kenai, the war is against erosion as city workers focus on the bluff from the mouth of the Kenai River upriver about one mile, according to acting City Manager Chuck Kopp.
In Soldotna, the big project coming up is re-roofing the Soldotna Sports Center to keep out rain and melting snow, said City Manager Tom Boedeker.
Kopp said Kenai has received a half million dollars for a study of groundwater to determine what impact it is having on bluff erosion, and once the study is complete, work will begin.
“Building an armored embankment will be a big undertaking,” he said.
Kenai also plans a number of street improvements with paving on the agenda for Set Net, McCollum, Aliak and Angler drives.
The city also is in the project design phase for a major expansion of the community library.
Work at the city’s boat launch area will include building a new exit road out of the facility and adding a set of dual ramps to the boat launch.
“These will greatly assist our commercial and private fishing interests,” Kopp said.
At the northern end of town, Kenai is looking to develop a large tract of land into eight soccer fields for area youth. Work should begin this summer. Down the road the project will include a field house for the recreation area.
In Soldotna, the sports center’s roof has seen better days and needs to be replaced.
Structurally the roof meets snow load requirements, but leaks in the material coating the roof have caused city workers to strategically place large yellow barrels inside the sports center during periods of heavy rainfall.
Replacing the main roof system over the hockey rink and spectator stands alone is likely going to cost $300,000, and the total job should be between $350,000 and $400,000, Boedeker told the Soldotna City Council in January.
Other major projects for Soldotna this year include the extension of water and sewer lines on States Avenue, which runs behind the Hutchings Chevrolet auto dealership, and along Kalifornsky Beach Road up to Chugach Drive, near the entrance for Kenai Peninsula College.
Expansion at Soldotna’s airport will include adding a grass strip runway.
“A lot of people who use the airport have tundra tires on their airplanes, and find it much easier to land on grass,” Boedeker said.
Additional work on gates and infield runway lighting also will be done this year, and according to Boedeker, some of the work may involve land acquisition by the city.
Work will continue this year on improvements to the city’s Soldotna Creek Park and related riverbank restoration downriver.
Through special assessment districts, the city also will do street paving on Aspen Street between Marydale Avenue and Corral Street, and on Diane Lane and Ridgewood Drive.
Boedeker and Mayor Dave Carey said the city will continue looking at options for building a cemetery, after land deals with the Kenai Peninsula Borough failed to come to fruition last year.
River to runway city projects in 2006
Kenai and Soldonta have lengthy to-do lists this year:
· Kenai Groundwater study in advance of building a seawall along the Kenai River mouth, street paving, boat launch improvements, breaking ground on a soccer field complex north of town.
· Soldotna Reroofing sports center, extending water and sewer lines, expanding and upgrading airport, riverbank restoration, possible cemetery work.
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