Winter games move forward

Posted: Monday, August 18, 2003

It's been a busy summer for the group organizing the 2006 Arctic Winter Games.

Since the Kenai Peninsula beat out Juneau and Fairbanks in the race to host the annual youth sports competition, there's been plenty of work going on behind the scenes by games organizers.

In June, a host society was incorporated to see the games through the planning and organizational phase.

On July 2, the society selected a 23-member board of directors and elected officers.

Officers on the board include Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Dale Bagley, president; Soldotna Mayor Dave Carey, vice president; Kenai Peninsula Borough Community and Economic Devel-opment Business Director Jack Brown, secretary; and Becky Foster, Treasurer.

The borough, as well as the cities of Kenai, Soldotna and Homer, strongly supported the games during the initial bid process, and according to Brown, they'll be counted on heavily to help out as the games move forward, especially when it comes time to actually host them.

"We've got all the venues lined up right now. We'll be working with the cities on that," Brown said.

Now that a board and host society are formed, the group is getting on with the necessary steps re-quired to host the games, which will bring an estimated 2,000 athletes into the area from Alaska, Scandinavia, Russia, Canada, Nunavut and Greenland. That means figuring out planning, marketing and, perhaps most importantly, funding for the event.

During the bid process, it was estimated that around $5 million will be needed to put on the games. Some of that money will come from local government, but the committee has said it hopes to raise the bulk of that funding through private sources and various grant monies.

Brown said Friday that the group already has begun the process of lining up corporate help, though he said no announcements have been made yet on private funding. He did say he believes the games will have solid financial support.

"(Revenue Development committee chair Bill) Popp is going great guns on getting contributions to start off with," Brown said.

At this week's Soldotna City Council meeting, Carey also said he believes area industry will be on board in support of the games, going so far as to hint of a major announcement at the upcoming Industry Appreciation Days in Kenai.

"I believe there will be some very substantial announcements at Industry Appreciation Day," Carey said.

Though he would not comment on any possible contributions, Brown did say he believes the peninsula's bid remains firmly on the right track.

"From what I can see, we're ahead of where Wood Buffalo (Alberta) was two years ago," Brown said. "I think we're right on track."

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