Assembly supports peninsula sports dome

Posted: Monday, August 25, 2008

Athletes of all sorts may one day have a new facility in which to play, if the efforts of an informal working group come to fruition.

For several months, approximately 25 Kenai Peninsula residents have been meeting to consider building a canvas-like tent sports dome based on technology already in use in Anchorage and other Alaska communities, as well as in the Lower 48.

The facility would be available year-round to schools and the general public and be big enough to accommodate soccer, track, baseball, football, lacrosse and other similar sports, along with bleachers.

At its Aug. 19 meeting, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly lent its support to the idea when it passed Resolution 2008-071.

As currently envisioned, the double-layered, canvas-like tent would enclose a track and playing field covered with artificial turf.

No funds have been acquired yet toward construction of the project, but the assembly's support is considered important to move the concept forward toward a feasibility study, and research into an available location, financing, construction and other factors, said Assembly President Grace Merkes, sponsor of the resolution, in a memo to the assembly.

Merkes has been part of the working group.

If built, the dome would be located somewhere on the central peninsula.

The assembly also adopted three ordinances Tuesday after taking public testimony.

Ordinance 2007-19-55 appropriated $15,000 in supplemental funding in the fiscal year 2008 budget to cover excess costs arising from the purchase and installation of new routing equipment in the 911 Call Center.

Ordinance 2008-19-12 appropriated $40,000 from the Kachemak Emergency Service Area's capital project funds for the purchase and upgrade of a used water tanker acquired at auction from the city of Valdez.

Ordinance 2008-24 allowed for late-filed habitat protection tax credits on senior citizen-owned properties exceeding $300,000 in value where construction was started in 2005, 2006 or 2007.

Before Jan. 1, all senior citizens enjoyed an unlimited tax exemption on their primary homes. On that date, a cap on the exemption at $300,000 became effective, meaning those property owners were responsible for paying taxes on the value in excess of $300,000.

Approximately 64 properties are believed to have qualified for the river habitat tax credit, but would not have applied because of the unlimited exemption. The ordinance allows those property owners to get the tax credit, which can be taken over a three-year period.

Administration officials said they believed it equitable to extend the tax credit to owners who would have applied had they not been exempt.

Hal Spence can be reached at

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