Visitors center update on agenda

Soldotna council to discuss transitional housing, codes

Posted: Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Soldotna civic leaders are slated to get an update on the planned expansion of the city's visitors center at tonight's city council meeting.

Soldotna Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michelle Glaves is to bring council members current on progress being made toward expanding the existing building to create more office space for the chamber, increase the size of the visitors center and add a number of public restrooms for visitors.

According to Soldotna City Manager Tom Boedeker, the chamber has selected an architect and is "in the programming phase to determine what they are going to do."

He said the organization is looking at possibly expanding the existing building out toward the Kenai River.

The city council also is scheduled to consider a recommendation by Boedeker that Soldotna not proceed with a Community Development Block Grant awarded on behalf of Love In the Name of Christ for a transitional housing facility the group is planning to build in Soldotna.

Due to burdensome requirements of the grantor on the city and on Love INC, Boedeker is recommending other grant sources be investigated.

A second public hearing is slated for tonight seeking input on a proposed ordinance amending the city's zoning code governing residential development in the commercial zone.

The change was precipitated by the erection of large condominium buildings along the Sterling Highway in the midst of Soldotna's commercial district. Boedeker told the council the buildings the Timberwolf Condominiums are not in violation of city code, and he said he is aware of other residential developments in the commercial district being bandied about.

While the proposed amendment came about following the condo development, new rules such as setbacks, off-street parking and landscaping would apply to apartment buildings in the commercial district as well.

Following the public hearing, the council is expected to take action on the amendment.

After dodging rough spots in several streets all summer, residents will soon be motoring across new asphalt on Shady Lane, Beluga Avenue and Aspen Drive if the council gives its OK to a $22,964 contract for Alaska Roadbuilders to replace asphalt following repairs to water mains that froze last winter and spring.

A contract also is to be awarded to Foster Construction Inc. to repair a sink hole on Cohoe Avenue. The winning bid on that project was $29,772.

Because the city has been made aware of the possibility of 1,300 truckloads of gravel moving through the city to a state road project at Jones Stub, Boedeker is recommending a city regulation requiring a permit for such use of city streets.

The permit holder would have to abide by operating-hour restrictions and be required to sweep the streets daily following use and clean up any spilled material along the side of the street.

The council meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.

Phil Hermanek can be reached at

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