Council in process of action plan

Posted: Monday, September 11, 2000

The North Peninsula Com-munity Council will meet today to discuss the $2,800 United States Forestry grant it recently received.

Fred Miller, council president, said the community council was formed in May. The council has met monthly at the Nikiski Senior Center to discuss and begin formulating an action team and an action plan for the Nikiski area.

The grant will go toward reimbursing the council for money it spent for the formation of the action team and the development of the action plan.

Miller said Jack Brown, Nikiski's representative on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly, was a participant in the original North Peninsula Com-munity Council and had gotten the council recognized by the borough years ago. Over time, the original council disbanded.

However, due to issues of public safety that arose over the winter, including the closure of the Nikiski road maintenance station and various criminal problems, a new council formed, Miller said.

"We assumed the defunct council's identity," he said.

During the meetings, the council of seven board members and approximately 20 others, discuss issues such as public safety, job opportunities, increased property value, the incorporation of Nikiski into a city and the tax cap ballot initiative.

Miller said if the tax cap ballot initiative, which seeks to limit property taxes to 10 mills, is voted into law, it could be a problem for residents.

"Our services would possibly go down from what they are now," he said.

These issues were brought up and need to be addressed as a council, Miller said.

The Monday meeting also will address the subject of the council's nonprofit status.

The group has applied for 501(C)3 nonprofit status with the state. When the status is approved, the council will then apply for the status with the Internal Revenue Service.

While the council is waiting for approval, it is being sponsored by the North Peninsula Chamber of Commerce.

Miller said the council meetings are open to the public and the current goal is to get community members involved in the council.

"The more, the merrier," he said.

When formed, the action team will be comprised of community organizations, churches, the senior center, industrial complexes and any other organized groups or individuals, Miller said. He said he would like to see a representative from each organization participate and then report back to that body.

"This group will participate through a planning process for the long term plan for Nikiski," he said.

The bylaws for the council were written to encompass the area within the Salamatof and both Nikiski voting precincts.

Miller estimates the team process will take about two months while the plan process will take as long as six months. Both must be completed, under the conditions of the grant, by May 31.

Loretta Eaton, council vice president, said she was at the community meeting earlier this year in Nikiski where Miller mentioned the idea of a community plan. What he had to say sparked her interest and the first North Peninsula Com-munity Council meeting was held a month later.

"We wanted to see Nikiski develop into a community we wanted to live in," she said, "The key is starting with a plan."

Both Miller and Eaton agreed the issues that the community finds important are diverse, but the outcome of the action plan depends on what the team can agree on.

Eaton said though every age group wants different things, it is the input of all of the groups that is important.

"We want that balance," she said.

She also said she likes the response of the council.

"I am excited. I see a commitment," she said.

Eaton said the trimmed lawns and nice houses in Nikiski say something about the residents who live there.

"People here have to have dreams," she said.

The team can help residents formulate their dreams into plans and make them come true for a better community, Eaton said.

Miller said though the ideas are diverse, Nikiski residents still need to come forth with more ideas and concerns.

"This whole program is to educate people and to generate a long-term or short-term development plan," he said.

Eaton said she is excited about the initial set up of the nonprofit status.

"It involves a lot of hard work, but it definitely is the right way to go," she said.

The community council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Nikiski Senior Center and is open to the public.

"These plans are just a starting point. It's like a marriage, it needs constant maintenance," Miller said.

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