Porter: More development needs to be encouraged in Kenai

City of Kenai

Posted: Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Name: Pat Porter

Age: 62

Occupation: Retired substitute teacher

Family: Husband, Larry; children, Kelly Gifford, Larry Jr.

Education: West Anchorage High School

Organizations and special interests: Chamber of Commerce, United Way Board

Previously held elected office: Kenai Mayor, Kenai City Council

1. How much more commercial development should Kenai encourage? Is it wiser to lease city property to retailers or should the land be sold?

For the city to continue to grow we must continue to encourage development. There is still a lot of opportunity in our city both for large and small retail business. Businesses that will provide our citizens the options and variety a healthy community should offer. The number one concern of our residents has been for expanded commercial development. Selling and leasing of city land are both important options to offer. The city has developed a plan to protect the land adjacent to the airport. We also need to reserve lands needed for parks, recreations, libraries, and other city needs. A strong economy also allows for the city to sell lands to encourage expanded development. Some retailers are only interested in purchasing land and others prefer to lease. We are fortunate that we have the option to offer both.

2. What kind of development should be done on the bluff in conjunction with the planned bluff erosion abatement project?

Our first focus still has to be the funding to start and complete the bluff erosion project. When funding has been secured, our next plan will include the city and other property owners to work together towards development of a long range community plan. The vision of this plan should focus on capturing and creating a destination that both our citizens and visitors will use and enjoy year round. Kenai is the gateway into a world of exploring. Our community rests on the mouth of the Kenai River along with unlimited views of Cook Inlet and the surrounding majestic mountain ranges. Responsible development, along the bluff, is an obligation we owe to ourselves and our future generations.

3. What can Kenai do to get the Kenai River off the impaired water body list? Is enough being done already?

Kenai should and will continue to work with all the agencies, groups, other cities and the borough in partnership to find lasting solutions. Our residents, tourists, sports and commercial fisherman rely on all of us to be good stewards. They look to us to find real answers which will ensure a healthy Kenai River. Enough has not been done to secure the health of our river. This past year, more of an effort has been made to find solutions and provide information. The user groups are beginning to work together to find ways to lower the pollution levels. It will take all of us working together to repair and protect our river.

4. How can the city better manage the dipnet fishery?

The city has done a good job since the fishery was trust upon the city to manage. We still have to do more to assess and protect the fragile dunes. The fishery has allowed us to add the needed facilities which help us manage the growing subsistence fishery. The excess funds raised should be used to continue to improve access to the beach, control the traffic, enforce rules and find solutions to problem areas. Our beach is a jewel of our community and protection should be guaranteed for our residents to enjoy year round.

5. Will televising council meetings improve communications between the city and its residents?

The city should look at all opportunities to improve communication with its residents. Today there are a number of choices, television, radio, newspaper, streaming video or other electronic media. We are in a changing time of technology. Whatever choices our council makes should be fiscally responsible. We are currently working with students at Kenai Central High School to provide a delayed video of our meetings. Having student involvement encourages their participation in community interaction with their city government.

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