Kenai Peninsula, Juneau, Fairbanks in hunt for Arctic games

Posted: Monday, October 07, 2002

KENAI (AP) -- Three Alaska communities are in the running to host the Arctic Winter Games in 2006. Fairbanks has hosted the games twice before, in 1982 and 1988. Juneau and the Kenai Peninsula Borough are also submitting bids.

In Soldotna Friday, borough and area officials revealed the borough's bid to bring the games to the peninsula, and even had a logo ready.

''We see this as a way to bring all the communities together and all the people on the peninsula together as well,'' Soldotna Mayor Dave Carey said.

In the state capital, the Juneau Assembly on Thursday unanimously approved a resolution supporting Juneau's bid to host the games. The circumpolar games bring together about 2,000 competitors and spectators from Alaska, Canada, Russia and Greenland every two years.

It'll be Alaska's turn to host again in 2006. The games were in Eagle River in 1996.

For the Kenai Peninsula bid, events would be split up among practice venues in Girdwood, Homer, Nikiski and Kenai, with Soldotna as the central location.

Jack Brown, the business development manager for the borough's Community and Economic Development Division, said the 1996 Games in Eagle River cost an estimated $2 million, and he expects the price to be nearly twice that for 2006.

Borough Mayor Dale Bagley said if the peninsula is selected, funding for the games, estimated to range between $3 million and $5 million, also will come from combined efforts from the borough community.

''The (money) we will need is doable,'' Bagley said. ''Since we're working on bringing it here, the borough and cities expect to put money in. The oil companies will probably weigh pretty heavily into the equation as well. The nice thing for the corporations is since this is three years out, you can get them to put in a little at a time.''

Bagley said the state has historically contributed to the event, as well, and he expects to look for grants to help fund the event.

Fairbanks is also expected to submit a bid.

Bid packages must be delivered to the Arctic Winter Games site committee in Whitehorse, Yukon, by Oct. 15.

The 2004 Arctic Winter Games will be in Wood Buffalo, Fort McMurray, Northern Alberta.

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