A sign of life was breathed into a Kenai subdivision that has sat idle for a generation when the city council transferred $10,000 Wednesday night toward redesigning Dena'ina Point Estates north of town.
At the request of City Manager Rick Koch, a resolution shifting the money from the city's general fund received unanimous approval in hopes a modified layout of the subdivision will make development more economically attractive to people seeking high-end homes with "a million dollar view" of Cook Inlet and the volcanoes across the way.
Koch said when the subdivision across the Kenai Spur Highway from the new soccer fields was first created, it was done with high standards calling for roads to be built with curbs and gutters on both sides.
Today, that type of required development would cost $8 million, he said.
"A different layout cuts that price in half," Koch said.
"With a more efficient layout and no curbs and gutters, we could cut the development cost to $2 million," he said.
The $10,000 the council OK'd would be used for a conceptual design Koch would take to property owners in an attempt to encourage development. The city owns about one-half of the land.
"Right now, given the constraints on that property, nothing is going to happen," Koch said.
He said he would use the conceptual design to show people the roadways, tracts of land and number of lots on each tract, and tell landowners how much their development costs would be and how much their property would be worth once developed.
The expenditure was approved unanimously by the council.
The council also gave unanimous approval to a $27,532 appropriation in the senior citizen fund, $7,500 of which would go toward reinstituting a health and wellness program for clients of the Kenai Senior Center.
Discontinued when a new administration took over at Central Peninsula Hospital, the senior health program once provided a nurse practitioner who would come to the senior center to perform blood draws, do urine testing and nail clipping for all seniors, particularly those with diabetes. After testing, the seniors would be referred to a physician if necessary.
Part of the $7,500 would fund weight-resistance training for the seniors. Senior center Director Rachael Craig said each participant would receive weight packs that they can attach to their wrists or ankles while exercising. The amount of weight could be adjusted by each individual.
The approved appropriation also funds travel and transportation, repair and maintenance, and office and operating supplies for the senior center, the bulk of which would go toward increased food costs.
The council also discussed an ordinance mandating proper garbage containers be placed in mobile home parks and near multi-family dwellings and that garbage be collected by the owners of multi-family dwellings and mobile home parks.
Koch earlier said the measure is being considered because one mobile home park in the city, Highland Pride, once had Dumpsters, but removed them.
That led to bear problems, the area became unsightly and unhealthy, Koch said.
Councilman Barry Eldridge asked that language be added to the proposed ordinance specifying how many trash containers are required and how frequently trash must be picked up.
City Attorney Cary Graves said the city code already contains a section that sets out mandatory frequency of collection.
City administration was instructed to revise the statute and bring it back to the city council for further consideration.
In other business, Mayor Pat Porter said the city has received verbal approval from the Russian Orthodox church in Old Town to delay moving historic cabins off church property until spring.
Koch told council members Wal-Mart has scheduled its real estate sale closing for early October and Lowe's closing is set for Sept. 17. The retailers are buying city property to build stores across Marathon Road from one another.
Koch also said a survey of Old Town street lights, sign posts and property lines is being done to determine where best to build sidewalks.
He said he met with the Kenai Kennel Club to discuss plans for a 5,000 square-foot building the club would like to build on leased city property.
Phil Hermanek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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