KENAI (AP) Soldotna just gained 8.11 acres of prime riverfront property.
The city council voted last week to exercise an option to take over title of the former Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities maintenance site in the heart of town. The site is adjacent to the city's existing Soldotna Creek Park which sits on a high bank above the Kenai River.
The city entered into an agreement with the state three years ago to begin the process of taking over the property. Concerns about contamination from chemicals left on site led the city to hire an outside consultant to evaluate the land's potential risk to the city.
Ron Rozak of Rozak Engineering gave a report to the city Wednesday. Rozak said he does not believe the contaminant levels on site notably, cadmium, benzene and chlorides pose a significant risk when compared with the potential benefits of taking over the site. Some levels are above what's allowed for drinking water, but the site's potential use as a recreation area outweighs the contamination concerns, Rozak said.
The council voted 4-0 to take over the property. Council members Jim Stogsdill and Scott McLane were absent.
The council had until Sunday to make a decision on the acquisition. Otherwise, the state would have kept the property, the Peninsula Clarion reported.
Mayor Dave Carey believes the land acquisition is an extremely positive move for the city.
This represents a historic step in the city of Soldotna,'' Carey said.
City Manager Tom Boedeker said Thursday that the city is now in the process of finalizing the deal with the state. He said the paperwork will likely take a couple weeks to finalize, at which point the city will become the official owners of the property.
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