Reminders that “All drains lead to the Kenai River” will soon be stenciled on all storm sewer drains in Kenai thanks to a Kaleidoscope charter school conservation program, unveiled at the Kenai City Council meeting Wednesday.
Third- and fourth-grade pupils from the school, which calls itself Kaleidoscope School of Arts and Science, are teaming up with the Kenai Watershed Forum to get out the message and remind people of the importance of keeping pollutants from reaching the Kenai River.
About one dozen children each read one or two sentences from a prepared script detailing what they learned from their No Name Creek cleanup project last year and outlining what they plan to do this year.
In addition to the storm drain stenciling, the pupils will again clear rubbish from No Name Creek in Kenai.
Council members gave the children the go-ahead for the stenciling project.
The council also heard from the Kenai Watershed Forum’s Josselyn O’Connor, who said the group is planning a shorebird celebration and workshop in Kenai on May 16 and May 19, one week after the Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival in Homer.
“Birders come from around the world to see the birds,” O’Connor said.
The Kenai celebration is piggybacking on the Homer festival in hopes of bringing some of the same birders to spend time in Kenai.
Activities at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center will include morning lectures and a photo exhibit, and watershed forum guides will assist birders at the Kenai City Dock and on Cannery Row, according to O’Connor.
The council authorized using the city’s equipment replacement fund to buy a new $80,000 ice resurfacing machine.
In a memo to the council, City Manager Rick Koch said the city has two Zamboni machines that are 32 years old. Both are used at the ConocoPhillips-City of Kenai Multipurpose Facility.
He said it is OK to have one 1975 Zamboni as a backup, but the primary machine should be newer. A new resurfacing machine costs $72,385, and shipping is estimated at $5,500.
The council also authorized the purchase of a 10-acre tract of land off Beaver Loop from the state for a possible future water well site. The state has agreed to sell the land to the city for $8,750 as long as the land is used for a public or charitable use, according to Koch.
In an attempt to determine how residents feel about the city issuing general obligation bonds for Kenai River bluff erosion control, doubling the size of the Kenai Municipal Library and paving certain gravel roads in the city, the council approved questions to be asked in a community research poll.
The survey would also ask residents what they perceive to be the most important issues facing the city.
Koch said he hopes to forward the questions to an Anchorage research firm preparing the city poll within six weeks. Following the council’s approval of the final survey form, Koch said the poll would go out to a select number of residents.
A letter from Dittman Research and Communications to the city said a sample of 275 for a population of 7,000 would yield a margin of error of plus or minus 6 percent.
In other business, the council introduced an appropriation of $20,000 for paving a parking lot at the airport and a $35,000 appropriation to construct a urea storage building for winter ice and snow removal from airport ramps.
Koch said earlier the city customarily has purchased the urea from Agrium in North Kenai, but when the plant shut down during the past winter, the city was required to look elsewhere for a source and pay shipping to get the urea to Kenai.
“With a urea storage building, we’ll be able to stockpile and store urea in the winter,” Koch said.
Phil Hermanek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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