Kenai OKs spending $1.6 million

Grant money will go toward street lights, parking lot and paving

Posted: Friday, September 23, 2005

The Kenai City Council gave its final OK Wednesday night to spending $1,662,010 on assorted civic improvements, more than $1 million of which is coming by way of state grants.

A $790,000 state grant will be used to pay for residential street paving, a new city parking lot and some new street lights. The council approved an ordinance officially accepting the grant.

An ordinance also was approved accepting another state grant — this one totaling $290,000 — which allows the city to complete improvements to public facilities including the Municipal Park, Leif Hansen Memorial Park and the skateboard park.

The ordinances had been scheduled for public hearings Wednesday, but no members of the public attended the city council meeting to speak out on the expenditures.

Interim City Manager Chuck Kopp had said earlier the street paving would be done in neighborhoods where residents formed limited improvement districts agreeing to split the cost of the road improvements.

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

Public improvements earmarked in the $290,000 grant include installing fire pits, bench seating and new picnic tables at Municipal Park.

Three new wells will be drilled to water city parks, a well for a fire hydrant in the VIP Subdivision will be drilled and a sprinkler system will be installed at Leif Hansen.

In addition to the ordinances accepting state grants, the council also gave the nod to ordinances accepting federal grants.

One such grant, from the National Park Service, will go to fund the Kenai Soccer Park capital project.

The $503,096 cost will be equally split by the city and the grant.

A $61,513 Department of Homeland Security for Kenai Fire Department physical fitness equipment was approved, and requires a $3,237 match from the city.

The city also OK’d a $3,838 grant from U.S. Fish and Wildlife for wildland firefighting equipment. The required city match of $426 can come from the fire department’s budget.

The balance of the city council’s spending this week will go toward renting the American Legion Post No. 20 kitchen facilities while the city’s senior citizen center kitchen is being remodeled. The American Legion donated $8,100 of the $9,900 total, leaving $1,800 to be paid from the Senior Citizen Fund.

In other business, the council unanimously approved an Airport Commission proposal to create a pay parking lot for vehicles at the general aviation area at the south end of the airport.

The lot will accommodate up to 72 vehicles and is estimated to bring in about $8,000 annually based on a 30 percent occupancy at $1 per day.

The council also gave unanimous approval to the Kenai Historical Society to sublease a building in Old Town to the Messianic Fellowship of Kenai.

The building at 818 Cook St., once housed the Kenai Community Library. The religious group will pay $6,000 to use the building for one year.

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