Cemetery selection in borough's hands

Posted: Sunday, July 18, 2004

Plans for a Soldotna cemetery may be nearing completion after the Soldotna City Council passed a resolution Wednesday asking the Kenai Peninsula Borough to convey a parcel of borough land for use as a memorial park.

The land, which consists of 10 acres at the far end of West Redoubt Avenue, was selected as the best cemetery location by both the city's Cemetery Task Force and an independent report compiled by Anchorage Cemetery Director Don Warden. The site was chosen because of several factors, including the fact that the city already owns an adjacent parcel of land, making expansion easier.

On Wednesday, several members of the task force told the council they hope the city is finally ready to take the next step toward building a cemetery something that's been in the works for nearly a decade.

"I hope we are going to move forward with this," task force member Barbara Jewell said.

At the urging of the task force, the council amended the original resolution to include portions that indicate to the borough that the city's Planning and Zoning Commission approved the West Redoubt location and that the city's comprehensive plan called for building a cemetery in the city.

"It's important to stress we did identify interest of a cemetery in 1995," task force member Dick Troeger told the council.

Now that the resolution has been passed, it's up to the borough to decide whether it wants to grant the city the land.

Although it will be up to the entire Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly, assembly President Pete Sprague of Soldotna told the council he'll try to make the cemetery a reality.

"I'll do what I can to move this forward," Sprague told the council.

Council members passed the resolution with no debate. Near the end of the meeting, almost every council member took time out to thank the task force for its hard work in getting the city to the point of finally trying to acquire land for the cemetery.

"Thanks for being there," council member Jane Stein told the task force.

In other action Wednesday, the council:

Heard a report from City Manager Tom Boedeker on the status of open burning in city campgrounds.

On Friday, Boedeker suspended all burning in the city's campgrounds, including fire pits, until further notice. It hasn't rained in Soldotna since June 17.

Authorized Boedeker to submit a grant application to the FAA for a construction project and land purchase deal for the Soldotna Municipal Airport. The grant is needed to carry out improvements identified in the 2004 Airport Master Plan.

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