Work is scheduled to begin soon on the Kenai multipurpose facility to make it more useful for the Arctic Winter Games.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Work to transform the Kenai Multipurpose Facility into a spectator-friendly sports venue has begun.
The Kenai City Council last week awarded the first of what's expected to be a series of construction bids for work on the facility in advance of next year's Arctic Winter Games. The bid, in the amount of $33,650, is for new bleachers that will allow 300 spectators to watch hockey and speed skating events during the week-long international competition.
The city has an agreement with the local Arctic Winter Games host society to get reimbursed for the work being done to remodel the facility as its completed.
The entire project is expected to cost $200,000. When completed, it will add seating, heat and additional team rooms to the facility, among other improvements.
According to the agreement between the society and city, the city will submit its receipts to the society for reimbursement.
In the early stages of the project, there was some misunderstanding between the city and society as to where that money would come from, but Kenai City Attorney Cary Graves said the money is in place for this first step of the project.
"They have enough to fund this portion of the project," he told the council.
Host society Executive Director Tim Dillon said funding for the rink improvements is right on track.
During his visit to the council, Dillon also took a few minutes to give a brief update on the status of the upcoming Games. He said the International Committee recently paid a visit to the peninsula, which he said went well.
"They were very, very pleased with their visit," Dillon said.
He said things are now in full swing for the event, scheduled for March.
"A lot of our committees are fully engaged now," he said.
In addition, Dillon had more good news for the city regarding, announcing that the host society plans to display and sell merchandise at the city's airport.
"We have been able to put some things together to put a display in the store at the airport," he said.
The temporary display will be set up at Wings Diner in the airport. Dillon said that will change once the Games get closer, when an even more ambitious merchandising push will begin at the city's facility.
"During the time of the Games we will have a full-blown store in there," he said.
That's good news for the council, which in the past had expressed disappointment that more wasn't being done to help Kenai see an economic boost from the event.
Dillon finished his remarks to the council by saying he thinks that with just under eight months to go before the opening ceremonies, everything is starting to fall into place for the big event.
"We're very much on track with things," he said.
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