Borough committee readies pitch to host 2006 winter event

Bid for games coming together

Posted: Sunday, September 08, 2002

In less than a month, the Kenai Peninsula Borough will submit a bid to bring the 2006 Arctic Winter Games to the peninsula.

If that bid is successful, it could mean as many as 1,600 athletes, coaches and officials coming to the peninsula, not to mention hundreds, perhaps thousands of spectators.

Besides showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the peninsula, the event, with venues in communities around the borough, could generate millions of dollars in revenue for local businesses, according to Jack Brown, business development manager for the borough's Community and Economic Development Division.

A committee of more than 30 has been preparing the borough's bid and must submit it to an Arctic Winter Games site committee by Oct. 15. Site reviews and presentations will take place this winter, and a bid award will be announced in March.

"It is going excellent at this point," Brown said. "We are about 35 to 40 percent finished with the rough draft document."

Among those on the committee are borough Mayor Dale Bagley, Soldotna Mayor Dave Carey, Kenai Mayor John Williams, assembly President Tim Navarre and assembly members Pete Sprague and Grace Merkes.

Tuesday, the borough assembly formally accepted a $45,000 grant from the Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development. The money will be used to pay a project coordinator, complete the development of the bid package and make preparations for an on-site visit by the Arctic Winter Games International Committee.

Brown said the committee also is at work designing a logo for a Kenai Peninsula Arctic Winter Games. A preliminary design should be completed by next week, he said.

The peninsula faces stiff competition in the bidding for the 2006 games. Fairbanks, which has hosted the games in the past, and Juneau are in the hunt, Brown said.

The circumpolar games are conducted every two years. Teams from Alaska compete with teams from Canada, Russia and Greenland. The games emphasize athletic competition, cultural exhibition and social interchange, Brown said.

The 2004 games are scheduled between Feb. 29 and March 6 in the regional municipality of Wood Buffalo, Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada.

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