Stevens helps get funds for Arctic Winter Games

Posted: Thursday, April 01, 2004

Sen. Ted Stevens' office announced Wednesday that $3.35 million has been set aside in the 2004 Omnibus Appropriations Bill for the 2006 Arctic Winter Games on the Kenai Peninsula.

The money will be used for both the operating budget for the Games, which is expected to ring in at about $5.3 million, and for upgrades to area facilities for Games events.

Of the $3.35 million, $750,000 will go to the Kenai Peninsula Borough for ice rink construction in Homer, trail lighting and upgrades at Tsalteshi Trails and refrigeration and scoreboard repair in Soldotna.

Another $1 million is transportation funding that will help the Homer Hockey Association improve rink parking and road access and provide the city of Soldotna funds for parking and access improvements at the Soldotna Sports Center.

About $1.5 million will facilitate the purchase of 21 activity buses that the borough will operate during the Games and keep for future use.

And a final $100,000 will be used for professional and cultural program development from the U.S. Depart-ment of State.

The Games are an athletic and cultural exchange be-tween northern communities held every two years. The Kenai Peninsula will host the event in March 2006, marking the fifth time the Games have come to Alaska. Previous events were held in Anchorage in 1974, in Fairbanks in 1982 and 1988 and in Chugiak-Eagle River in 1996.

Bill Popp, revenue development chair for the 2006 host society, said the event will require about $5.3 million to be raised before the event. However, the Games are expected to bring anywhere from $10 million to $20 million into the community with transportation, lodging, food and sales for the estimated 7,000 visitors who attend a typical Games week.

"The outpouring of support from individuals, corporations and municipalities has been terrific in setting the stage for the 2006 Arctic Winter Games," Stevens said in a press release Wednesday. "By bringing Arctic peoples from around the globe to the Kenai Peninsula, the Arctic Winter Games is able to present some of the best our state has to offer."

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