Soldotna eyes project list for grant funding

Posted: Sunday, October 02, 2005

Changes could be on the way in Soldotna. However, some may be more noticeable than others.

The Soldotna City Council on Wednesday gave the nod to a list of infrastructure improvements expected to be funded by Alaska state grants.

Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development grants totaling $1,075,000 already have been approved by the state, and now the city is required to outline the intended projects to be funded before the grant funds are released.

Acting City Manager Andrew Carmichael told the council a list of projects the city wants to see funded includes drilling a new drinking water well at the Soldotna Sports Center; modifying a well pump, motor and wellhouse to increase water volume from another of the city's wells; and making several road and sewer improvements.

A previously approved grant also would have given $200,000 to the city for installation of a traffic light at the Sterling Highway and Kobuk Street, but the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities already in-stalled the light, partly to assist traffic through the Kenai River bridge construction zone.

A $210,000 public improvement grant would fund the two related water well projects, and a $665,000 grant would help pay for several road and sewer improvements.

Although a list of the road and sewer improvements has not yet been prioritized, the list includes extending water and sewer lines along Kalifornsky Beach Road to Chugach Drive, installing computerized auto-mation and alarm equipment to existing sewer lift stations, building Fireweed Street from Redoubt Avenue to Little Avenue and installing a main sewer line from the end of States Avenue along an easement in Soldotna Creek Park to the Pioneer Street right of way.

Carmichael asked for the council's approval of the list of projects, and the list was given a unanimous OK.

A letter is being sent to the state Division of Community Advocacy's grants section.

In other business, the city council set a public hearing for Oct. 12 on an ordinance appropriating $427,500 for trail work and riverbank habitat protection in Soldotna Creek Park and along former DOT property.

In a memo to the council, Carmichael explained that adopting the ordinance would allow appropriating remaining grant funds from the National Resource Conservation Service.

The council also scheduled a public hearing for Oct. 12 on an ordinance that appropriates $38,000 for installing a water main at Knight Drive and the Kenai Spur Highway. The work is expected to be completed prior to freeze up.

The issue of a city cemetery planned for Redoubt Avenue came up again during the city manager's report portion of the council meeting.

Carmichael told council members the city received final word from the state that use restrictions could not be lifted from Arc Lake property the city had hoped to trade with the Kenai Peninsula Borough for land on which the cemetery would be built.

The restriction could not be lifted unless the city purchased a new piece of property and put recreational use restrictions on the new parcel to replace the restrictions currently on the Arc Lake land.

Carmichael said the city could offer a seven-acre parcel on Marydale Avenue to the borough instead of the Arc Lake parcel; the city could offer a triangular shaped parcel next to the Alaska State Troopers "E" Detachment headquarters on Kalifornsky Beach Road; or the city could offer the borough $55,000 outright for the purchase of the land on Redoubt Avenue.

After some discussion, Parker moved to schedule a work session for 5:30 p.m. Nov. 16 to discuss the options.

Wearing his customary hat as Parks and Recreation director, Carmichael told the council the new marquee to be installed in front of the sports center is expected to be shipped Nov. 11.

He also said the hockey rink dasher board replacement project is progressing and said offers are coming in daily from people who want to volunteer for the 2006 Arctic Winter Games in March.

Public Works Director Steve Bonebrake publicly asked people to remove keystone blocks and cinder blocks from alongside city streets to prevent the landscaping pieces from damaging city snow removal equipment during the winter.

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