Kenai: bonds up for vote

Posted: Wednesday, September 26, 2007

 

  Wayne Westover, Phillip Edwards, Jessie Nimmo and Bryan Cook use computers at the Kenai Public Library to surf the Internet on Tuesday. Photo by Jessica Cejnar Photo by Jessica Cejnar

Wayne Westover, Phillip Edwards, Jessie Nimmo and Bryan Cook use computers at the Kenai Public Library to surf the Internet on Tuesday. Photo by Jessica Cejnar

Photo by Jessica Cejnar

Besides voting for a mayor and two city council members, Kenai residents will also be asked to decide whether the city should issue two $2 million bonds to expand the city library and stop bluff erosion along the Kenai River.

For the past 1 1/2 years, the city and the city council have been haggling over what to do about the city's crowded library: should the existing library be expanded outward or a second story be added, should the library be moved into a different building or should a new library be built from the ground up?

In April 2006, Klauder and Company Architects Inc. told the city the existing library is less than half the size it should be today and another one-third smaller than it will need to be in 20 years.

By 2026, the architect said, the facility will need 10,085 square feet of space for book stacks and 27,178 square feet overall. The existing library has a total of 9,496 square feet.

At the time, the city was told expanding the library would cost between $300 and $400 per square foot, depending on which option officials chose.

If approved by the voters, the $2 million in general obligation bonds issued would be applied toward the cost of expanding the library to meet current and future demand.

Kenai voters also are being asked whether $2 million in general obligation bonds should be issued to control bluff erosion along the river, estimated to cost a total of $15 million.

The $2 million would go toward planning, designing and constructing erosion control capital improvements as well as acquiring property for the project if necessary.

Backed by a show of support from Kenai voters, the city would seek grants to fund the remainder of the construction costs.

The city has said no bonds would be issued for either project until the remainder of the funding, in excess of $2 million, is obtained.

Phil Hermanek can be reached at phillip.hermanek@peninsulaclarion.com.



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