Council considers new ideasBy MATT TUNSETHPeninsula ClarionKenai's town clock idea is alive and ticking, while talk of re-naming the city's ice rink is heating up.
A plan to use city funds to erect a clock tower fell through earlier this year, when council members balked at spending large sums of money on such a project. However, at Wednesday's Kenai City Council meeting, Kenai Mayor Pat Porter announced that corporate donors have stepped forward to cover most of the estimated $55,000 in labor and materials needed for the 19-foot-tall structure.
"We have a lot of community support," Porter told the council.
With the private donations lined up, Porter and the council voted unanimously to use $7,000 in city funds to purchase the actual clock, a two-faced model that likely will be placed in Leif Hanson Memorial Park.
A proposed clock design was also unveiled at the meeting. Designed by Kenai Peninsula College art professor Celia Anderson, the design features a clock face with a salmon-themed design.
Porter said the clock tower will be built of stainless steel and copper, and may have space for some kind of engraving at the bottom.
Council member Joe Moore said he was thrilled that Porter was able to line up financing for the clock, which he said he thinks will be a welcome addition to town.
"I think this is a great idea," he told Porter. "Great job."
The clock tower project could still fall through is the council is asked to provide more money. But Porter was confident that the tower will be a reality in the near future.
Following the vote authorizing the $7,000 expenditure, Porter thanked the community donors who've stepped up to move the project closer to reality.
"Thanks to all the people in the general public for hopefully making this dream come true," Porter said.
In other action Wednesday, the council also tentatively approved a plan to grant ConocoPhillips exclusive rights to rename the city's multipurpose ice facility.
The proposal as outlined Wednesday by ConocoPhillips representative Peter Micciche would allow the company the right to name the facility the "ConocoPhillips Alaska/City of Kenai Multipurpose Facility." For its part, the city will get $5,000 a year.
Micciche told the council the naming rights are a great way for the company to support the city and get good advertising in return.
"It opens a lot of opportunities for the city in the future," Micciche said.
He said the naming rights are a perfect way for the company to show its support for the community.
"This is a dear place to our company," he said.
The naming deal is not yet official. Lawyers with ConocoPhillips must draw up a contract with the city, which will then go back to the council for final approval. If approved, ConocoPhillips would have naming rights for three years at $5,000 per year.
After three years, either the city or the company can opt out of the deal or the city can find a new sponsor. However, Micciche said ConocoPhillips would like to have the right to match any offer put forward by another company.
Council members said the idea has merit because it's a new and innovative way of creating revenue.
"It's a new way of doing business," council member Jim Butler said. "Kenai is in a position where we need to think differently."
If the plan goes forward, ConocoPhillips would place signs inside and outside the building, which currently is undergoing upgrades to facilitate its use during the 2006 Arctic Winter Games.
The only voice of dissent was from council member Cliff Massie. Although he eventually voted "reluctantly" to support the plan, Massie said he was unhappy with the council's decision because the city's planning and zoning commission advised against the move. The commission earlier in the week said it could not support naming the building until a policy is formulated for naming city buildings, parks and other places.
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