Construction is scheduled to begin in June on a 63 room Aspen Hotel in downtown Soldotna, according to Carol Giliam, Vice President of the Alaskan hotel chain. The hotel is scheduled to open in April of 2002, complete with a 1,500 sq. ft. meeting room that will host up to 150 people, swimming pool, exercise room, and luxury suites complete with spas. "We'll have a beautiful view of the Kenai River, and we'll develop the easement so our guests can walk down from the hotel and wet a line right behind us," said Giliam, addressing the Soldotna economic outlook forum at the Soldotna Sports Center. The hotel will be located just off the Sterling Highway behind the new Johnson's Tire Center.
According to Giliam the new facility will immediately draw tour groups to the Soldotna area. "We have a large tour group following at our other hotels around the state. They told us if you build it we will come. They have already put us on their itinerary for 2002. We will also focus on marketing of smaller in-state conferences and hope that someday Soldotna will put developing a convention center on their wish list," said Giliam. The hotel is anticipated to create about 25 jobs during the peak summer season. "The communities youth are very important to us. I really enjoy hiring young people to mentor them in pursuing a career in the tourism industry," added Giliam.
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