Soldotna Prop. 1: Events center plan deserves 'Yes' vote

Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2001

Soldotna Proposition 1: Events Center

When Soldotna voters go to the polls Tuesday, not only will they be asked about a private prison proposal, reapportionment and expansion and improvement of the Borough Building, but they also will be asked to approve the sale of up to $3.5 million in bonds for an events and conference center.

The whole project is expected to cost $7.4 million. The bonds will not be sold unless the rest of the money is raised for the project. If the bond issue is approved, the council is requiring it not result in new taxes.

The process may be unusual, but enough safeguards are in place to encourage a "Yes" vote on the proposition.

The central Kenai Peninsula, indeed the entire peninsula, needs a place to get together. The proposal isn't a pie-in-the-sky scheme to attract national conventions. It is a practical plan to meet the needs of peninsula residents today. We don't expect the events center to be a money maker, but it will contribute significantly to the quality of life of the area.

Under the plan, the center would be built on city-owned land on the Kenai River and near the Soldotna Sports Center. The sports center and proposed events center would complement each other.

While some have said national events make it more prudent to take a wait-and-see approach before attempting to build such a center, we believe the better course of action is to take an all-systems-go approach with a return to "normalcy" in mind.

A conference-events center that would be the result of a collaborative effort between the cities of Kenai and Soldotna -- and perhaps other peninsula communities and the borough -- is a goal worth reaching for. Soldotna's bond proposition gets the ball rolling in that direction.

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