Kenai’s Harbor Commission lives another day ... or at least until the city council meets again in July.
The council failed Wednesday night to pass an ordinance eliminating the commission and reassigning its duties to the Planning and Zoning Commission and the city manager.
The attempt was in response to the commission’s inability to muster a quorum and conduct any business for several months.
Kenai resident Bob Peters said, “The Harbor Commission is a valuable service to the city. I think it’s important we try to save this thing.”
Mayor Pat Porter, however, said the group has not been able to get enough members together to conduct a meeting in six months. She also said she sent letters to all residents who live adjacent to the city harbor and did not receive one response from anyone expressing an interest in being appointed to the commission.
Councilman Barry Eldridge suggested postponing action on the ordinance.
“We have a number of issues going on down at the waterfront,” Eldridge said, listing the Kenai bluff erosion project in planning stages, setting dock fees and a proposed Kenai trail along the river’s edge.
“I think it is a useful commission,” Eldridge said.
A vote on the ordinance was postponed.
Later in the council meeting, Porter appointed Peters and Phillip Morin to the commission.
The council also postponed action on an ordinance appropriating additional money for building a water main to the Wildwood Correctional Facility.
City Manager Rick Koch said all bids on the project came in over the engineer’s estimate, the job has been re-configured and re-advertised for bids, and he prefers not appropriating funds until he has a better idea of how much will be needed.
The council approved continuation of the Shamrock Circle paving district project, designed to fill and grade the dirt road and pave it.
The group also approved authorizing the purchase of state land near Togiak Street and Beaver Loop for a public purpose. The council had earlier approved purchasing the land for a well site, but Koch asked that the authorization be less restrictive, even though he did not have a specific purpose in mind.
Arctic Barnabas Ministries was granted the contractual right to extend their lease of airport land for 20 years beyond the 35-year lease already approved. The nonprofit organization plans to build a hangar, office and coffee shop on the property that will exceed $1 million.
Councilman Mike Boyle objected to the 20-year lease extension, saying, “We’re the caretakers of that property (for the city), not the caretakers of the businesses using that land.”
During her mayor’s report, Porter said the city needs to develop an attractive area in Kenai for people to come for large picnic-type events.
She said some groups are going elsewhere for large picnics, and said, “With Redoubt and Iliamna (mountains), we have the best view.”
Phil Hermanek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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