After years in the planning stages, the Soldotna skate park is no longer a (half) pipe dream.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Saturday at 10 a.m. at the park, which is now officially known as the Elks Skate Park at Karen Street Recreation Area.
For years, the city has wrangled over the specifics of the park. However, once the Soldotna Elks Club stepped up with a $60,000 donation, construction at the park started rolling this summer.
Although there is still some work to be done, Soldotna Parks and Recreation Director Andrew Carmichael told the city council Wednesday that crews are nearing completion of the long-awaited facility.
According to Carmichael, the park is roughly 80 percent complete. City crews have been putting in 12-hour days to finish the park before winter sets in.
He said he's happy with how the park is coming together.
"It's beyond what I had expected," he said. "We're definitely not going to have a second-class facility."
Some of the features of the new park include a paved entrance that allows skaters an unimpeded path to and from the park, a quarterpipe ramp (which later will be upgraded to a full halfpipe) and rails -- painted blue and gray. The paved runway was not originally in the design for the park, but the city council appropriated extra money for the paving at its Sept. 11 meeting.
Overall, the city kicked in roughly $17,000 of city funds for the park.
Council member Jane Stein, who was a driving force behind the council approving funding for the park, commented she was pleased the city had finally taken action on the project.
Although she said she likely won't do much skating, Stein said Wednesday she's got lots of enthusiasm for what the new park means to the city.
"I might roll something down the ramp," she said.
In other action Wednesday, the council:
Directed City Manager Tom Boedeker to move forward with plans to have the city install temporary water and sewer tanks at The Map Shop, with the intention that the city will move forward with a permanent extension of city lines to the area next spring.
Voted to draft a letter of support for federal funds to be allocated for the paving of Keystone Drive.
Awarded a contract to Zubeck Inc. in the amount of $227,882.50 for the city's Centennial Park nature trail and habitat restoration project. The project will construct gravel and elevated walkways approximately 1,000 feet downstream from the boat launch at the park.
Amended the council's meeting procedure to allow for a public comment period at the beginning of each meeting. The measure was enacted to allow members of the public the chance to speak to the council without having to wait until the end of the meeting.
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