Capital projects on tap: Soldotna Creek Park tops list for city council

Posted: Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Before the Soldotna City Council meets in regular session tonight, the group will gather as the Committee of the Whole to discuss nearly $1 million in capital projects to be funded out of the 2010 fiscal year General Fund.

Heading the list in terms of price is the next phase in the Soldotna Creek Park development project, estimated to cost $595,000.

Now that the park design has been approved, the city is giving the green light to the first phase of construction, which will include building a new parking lot and entry off the Sterling Highway, installing a storm drain system, building new permanent rest rooms, making some trail improvements and installing some electrical fixtures, according to City Manager Larry Semmens.

About $150,000 are earmarked for improvements at city hall, including concrete repairs and improvements to the front entry step area, as well as a $50,000 records room improvement project.

Also on the capital projects list for the coming year are flashing school-crossing lights at Redoubt Elementary School.

During the regular business meeting of the council, Eugene Fowler is expected to be seated to replace Shane Horan on council seat B. Horan resigned to be with family in Colorado and Fowler was the sole applicant for the council position.

He would serve until the October municipal election when someone would be elected to fill the remaining two years of Horan's term. The council also has the option of submitting a write-in candidate tonight.

An ordinance is to be considered tonight, appropriating $50,000 for a stairway down to the Kenai River on the upstream side of the Soldotna bridge.

Funding for the stairway would come from an Alaska Sustainable Salmon Fund grant, and welded aluminum grate materials would be coming from a previously canceled ASSF project.

In addition to providing a way for anglers to get down to the river without damaging the grass slope installed as part of the bridge project, the stairway would allow people to cross under the Sterling Highway, rather than having to fight traffic at street level, according to a memo to the council from Andrew Carmichael, director of Parks and Recreation.

Carmichael said, if approved, the stairway would be installed this year.

The council also is being asked to pass a resolution rescinding a resolution that previously awarded a contract to Northwest Playgrounds for new equipment destined for Farnsworth Park.

Semmens said the contract was erroneously awarded to a bidder that was not the lowest bidder. The contract, not to exceed $75,000, should instead be awarded to Sitelines Inc.

The incorrect award was based on Northwest's bid on equipment only, and did not include an additional amount for engineered wood-fiber fall protection material. Adding both components together, Northwest's bid would have been $89,323. The Sitelines bid was $63,102, more than $26,000 lower, according to a memo from Carmichael.

City employees are to provide the labor for installing the new playground equipment.

The council also is scheduled to consider an agreement for design and engineering services for the Kobuk Street storm-water out fall improvement project.

Semmens said the project scored number-one on a state Clean Water Fund priority list. Design would be fully funded through a state grant and construction would be paid for with federal stimulus fund money.

The city manager is recommending the council approve entering into an agreement with Wince-Corthell-Bryson consulting engineers in the amount of $185,400 for design and engineering.

The council meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. The Committee of the Whole meeting starts at 5:30.

Phil Hermanek can be reached at

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