The conceptual design process for the high ground of Soldotna Creek Park is now ongoing and residents will have a chance to contribute ideas for the park next month.
"There will be public meetings scheduled in September and October," said Soldotna Parks and Recreation Director Andrew Carmichael, when people will be able to give the city suggestions as to how the park should be developed.
The number one priority already identified by city officials is a permanent restroom facility for park visitors, according to Carmichael. Also on the list is a pavilion to provide shelter for people having large gatherings.
"We're not to the point where we are deciding what flower beds or what types of landscaping are going in," he said.
The conceptual design project has been contracted out to Casey Design.
In addition to planning for the park design, Carmichael said his department is finishing up on repairs to park facilities damaged by winter ice earlier this year.
A large amount of scheduled facility maintenance had been postponed to repair the damage.
"We have put in 270 feet (of river walkways) with city crews at Rotary Park," he said. "We're now at about $330,000 there," he said referring to the amount of money spent on repairs to fish walks, fishing platforms, stairways and railings taken out by river ice.
When work is complete at Rotary, 620 linear feet of fish walks will have been installed.
Additional repair and replacement work at Soldotna Creek Park and Swiftwater and Centennial campgrounds will be completed over the winter by contract crews, Carmichael said.
"Swiftwater has about 100 feet of platform to be contracted out," he said.
Although the number of campers driving to the Soldotna facilities early in the season was down, Carmichael said, by summer's end, the attendance numbers were "about the same as last year."
Because Soldotna raised its camping rates this year, revenue was up about 8 percent, he said.
"We heard from a lot of people who were surprised that we had our campgrounds repaired (already)," Carmichael said.
According to one account, the ice damage incurred through the city of Soldotna was widely publicized in the Anchorage area, but the repair work done by the city was not.
One job put off by the Parks and Rec department while ice damage was being repaired was fixing the roof at the Soldotna Sports Center.
"We're still working on the roof with in-house crews," Carmichael said on Wednesday. "It was on hold during ice damage repairs."
Phil Hermanek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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