Council accepts grants for projects, submits wish list

Posted: Friday, August 24, 2001

The Soldotna City Council Wednesday night accepted a grant in the amount of $102,456 from the Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development for Soldotna Sports Center conference area improvements.

The matching funds will be used to add two new restrooms, a corridor and lobby with a decor to match the formal meeting areas and building a new doorway between the existing lobby and the meeting side of the building, creating a small lobby down the existing sidewalk.

The city's match would be $30,735, which the council has yet to appropriate.

Soldotna Parks and Recrea-tion Director Andrew Car-michael said whether the proposed events center is built, there will be times when the meeting area at the sports center will be needed. The city has until June 30, 2003, to complete the work before losing the grant.

In other news from Wednes-day's council meeting:

n The city also accepted two grants for work at Airport Rotary Island Park, to protect riverfront vegetation and reduce erosion and bank loss from heavy foot traffic. The first grant, from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is in the amount of $23,500, the second, from the Kenai River Sportfishing Association, is in the amount of $35,874. The project includes 70 feet of light-penetrating walkway, 452 feet of gravel trail, a pedestrian bridge, a bank stairway and a hip boot stairway into the water. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game already has committed to paying $5,000 of the $64,374 project.

n The council also approved its 2003 State Transportation Improvement Plan requests. The so-called STIP list ranks by priority the city's requests with the Alaska Department of Transpor-tation and Public Facilities for upcoming funding cycles.

The top new request in the latest STIP is a road between the Kenai Spur Highway and Mackey Lake Road. The recent Soldotna Traffic Study identified this road as a priority for reducing congestion at the Y. The price tag for the project would be $4 million and include a bike path or sidewalk.

No. 2 on the new list is an alternate access route into the East Redoubt and Keystone Drive area. It carries a price of $475,000.

Under modified current project nominations, construction of a bridge across the Kenai River from West Redoubt to East Poppy Lane is the top priority. It too was listed in the traffic study. It would include sidewalks and bike paths. The bridge would reduce congestion at the intersection of the Sterling Highway and Kaliforn-sky Beach Road. The study found about two-thirds of the traffic crossing the bridge turns right onto K-Beach.

No. 3 is Kenai River pedestrian access from Soldotna Creek Park to Binkley Circle. It would be built in gravel, but to a standard that it could be paved in the future.

Not all STIP requests get funded, though as other projects are, older projects often move up the list.

The next regular council meeting is scheduled for Sept. 12.

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