Civic leaders and business people have been talking about a facility that would draw conventions as well as serve events within the Central Peninsula community for decades.
October 2nd, Soldotna voters will decide if they are ready to proceed with raising funds for an Event Center that would cost an estimated $7.2 to $7.5 million dollars proposed to be built a little west of the Soldotna Sports Center on K-Beach Rd. City voters are being asked whether or not to approve the sale of up to $3.5 million dollars in general obligation bonds to be spent on constructing the facility if another $3.5 million dollars are secured from other sources. The City Council has stated in an ordinance that if the voters approve the proposition, bonds will not be sold unless the additional funds needed for construction are secured.
The conceptual design rendered by Kluge & Associates could accommodate meetings and banquets for 500 people with expansion to serve up to 750. Exhibit space, seminar break out rooms, and a movable stage that could accommodate dinner theatre are also included in the design. A lot of research went into the conceptualization with the city appointing a committee with expertise in conferences as well as calling in a specialty consulting firm from Minneapolis. "Frankly, our community is not at the point where it can support a convention of a major caliber. We're short on beds to facilitate a convention of say 500, so we designed a facility that might accommodate that in the future, but for now would promote conferencing and seminars within the community for which there is a present need," said Kluge in presenting his design to the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce.
City Manager Tom Boedeker said the council had looked at expanding the Soldotna Sports Center but found that would not be cost effective, nor compatible for seminars and formal events. Complete information on the proposed event center and the ballot proposition are available on the city's website at www.ci.soldotna.ak.us.
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