Kenai City Council 3-year term

Eldridge: Trail will up property values, save senior center

Posted: Friday, September 28, 2007

Name: Barry Eldridge

Age: 71

Occupation: Retired

Family: Wife, Marta; children, Rick, Kevin and Sandee

Education: BA in Education/Math, MA in Management

Organizations and special interests: Rotary Club of Kenai, vice president; Kenai Chamber of Commerce member; Cook Inlet RCAC; PROPS Committee Public member

Previously held elected office: Kenai City Council, Planning and Zoning Commission and Harbor Commission

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

Kenai should continue to encourage business development as a means of providing residents with sufficient retail shopping options to have them shop locally. There is land available which may be better to lease for retail development than to sell however when land is sold it returns interest to the airport land fund and also provides property tax to the city on the land as well as on the improvements. Wal-Mart and Lowe's would not be coming to town with their multi-million dollar projects for leased land.

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

The most immediate development should be the building of the Kenai Coastal Trail on top of the armor rock that is put in place to stop the erosion. The result of the project will be that the riverfront property will become much more valuable and the Old Town area and the Kenai Senior Center will be protected. Once the project is completed and the bluff is stabilized then the city land at Millennium Square becomes more likely to be developed.

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

Kenai alone cannot accomplish what needs to be done. The pollution is the result of too many boats on the river in July compounded by the personal-use dipnet fishery taking place for three weeks in July. The solution is to get the two cycle engines off the river in July and/or shift more guides to drift boats and/or have Board of Fish restrict two cycle engine use in personal-use fishery. No, the proposed 50 hp rule for the KRSMA area will only increase pollution, when boats go faster they use more gasoline and more gas goes into the river. There needs to be a meeting of purpose between all players, state, federal and local to place some controls on boats using the river.

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

The city has done very well in adjusting to this personal-use fishery. We do see a need this year for increasing the seasonal officer patrols of the beach area to enforce the no fire and no camping areas and this will be outlined in the final report on the fishery due next month.

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

I believe that the council meetings are readily available to most residents that are interested. The council chambers are ample and citizens have opportunities to be heard. Written comments are always made available to council in their packets. Those who are homebound are the ones that I see as being able to take advantage of televising the meetings but only if they have cable TV, which I personally don't have and many others in our community do not have. I see limited use but will support it if cost is low.

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