Kenai library could grow

Posted: Friday, September 09, 2005

The Kenai City Council on Wednesday was asked for a half-million-dollar commitment toward an addition to the city’s public library.

Speaking for the city’s Library Commission, Kathy Heus told council members the commission has been seeking grant funding to complete a library expansion and has found some grants are not available without an official acknowledgment from the city that it is interested in the expansion.

“We are requesting the city commit to $500,000 with the understanding that any other funds necessary would come from other sources,” Heus said.

Council member Blaine Gilman, who said he attended the Library Commission meeting when expansion funding was discussed, told the council the planned addition would cost approximately $2 million.

Acting City Manager Chuck Kopp said city administrators plan to present a list of about 20 recommended capital improvement projects to the city council at its second meeting in October.

“The library may be the number one project we’re seeking grant funding sources for,” Kopp said.

He said, in his opinion, it would be better for the council to look at all the projects in total.

The council did not act on the request for a commitment.

In other business, the council did approve a transfer of $1,800 from the senior citizens fund to help pay for kitchen rental while the kitchen at the Kenai Senior Citizens Center is being remodeled.

Kenai American Legion Post No. 20 offered its kitchen facilities for rent at $110 a day, during the estimated three months it will take to redo the seniors’ kitchen.

The Legion also offered to donate $90 of the daily rent back to the city.

With the total donation of $8,100 in rental fees, the actual cost to the city would be the remaining $1,800.

“The American Legion was very generous to make us that offer,” Kopp said.

The council also accepted a $290,000 state grant that will fund improvements at Municipal Park, pay for three new water wells, a Leif Hansen Memorial Park sprinkler system and a fire hydrant well in the VIP Subdivision, and fund improvements at the city’s skateboard park.

Kopp said the Municipal Park improvements, estimated to cost $125,000, include installing fire pits, bench seating, “high-end” picnic tables and lighted trails.

When asked about the picnic tables, Kopp said the city is “looking at equipment that will last 15, 20 years, not something that needs to be replaced every five years.”

The council approved a $790,000 state grant for road and sewer improvements, as well.

Most of the money — $640,000 — has been earmarked to fund road improvement requests from residents in limited improvement districts (LID).

The districts comprise neighbors who get together and agree to evenly split the cost of such things as street paving with the city, according to Kopp.

Some LIDs the city is considering include Set Net Drive, Aliak-McCollom Drive and streets in the Thompson Park Subdivision.

Kopp said $50,000 has been set aside for installing street lights, though the specific locations have not yet been identified.

“We’re looking at public safety first,” he said.

Wednesday’s council meeting was the first attended by new student representative Les Krusen, who invited the council to the Kenai High School football matchup against Skyview High School today.

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