Industrial park, dock plan heads agenda for borough

Study findings to be revealed to assembly tonight

Posted: Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Looking to improve the economy and business environment of the central peninsula, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly early this year hired an Anchorage firm to study the feasibility of building an industrial park and deep-water dock in Nikiski.

Tonight, representatives of Northern Economics Inc. will formally present their findings to the assembly.

A draft of the study released recently indicated the cost of such a project, depending on several factors including location and size, could be between $12 million and $29 million.

Northern was not asked to render a conclusion regarding whether the industrial park should be pursued, but it did provide the borough with three possible locations and suggestions on how development of an industrial park might be phased-in over time.

The three locations include one on land owned by Cook Inlet Region Inc. south of the Agrium plant on the Kenai Spur Highway, another at the old Chevron asphalt plant north of Agrium's complex, and a third at the old Arness Dock near Nikiski High School.

Important to the success of the park would be construction of a dock capable of handling containerized freight. Costs for that part of the project were estimated between $9.76 million and $17 million.

Following release of the draft report, some assembly members, including Gary Superman who chaired a committee overseeing the feasibility study, expressed reservations about building a park before determining whether a secure supply of natural gas would be available well into the foreseeable future.

Jack Brown, business manager for the borough's Community Economic Development Division, said, at the least, the borough should find a way to preserve the opportunity to build an industrial park, either by acquiring land or making it possible for private industry to acquire the land.

The assembly will get a chance to digest the report and address its ramifications at tonight's meeting.

Up for final hearing and votes on adoptions are several ordinances formally accepting and reappropriating state and federal grants or making appropriations from the borough's general fund.

Ordinance 2002-19-06, $100,000 for expansion of the Nikiski Senior Citizens Center.

Ordinance 2002-19-17, $200,000 for development of a transportation plan.

Ordinance 2002-19-18, $20,000 to the Bear Creek Fire Service Area for equipment and training.

Ordinance 2002-19-19, $160,000 to Kachemak Emergency Service Area for a fire engine.

Ordinance 2002-19029, $55,583 from the general fund for installing electrical equipment at the Anchor Point Solid Waste Transfer Site.

Ordinance 2002-19-21, $649,000 from the insurance and litigation fund to provide money for self-insuring the Workers' Compensation Program for the borough and school district.

Another measure, Ordinance 2002-19-22, authorizes the transfer of a $200,000 state block grant from Seldovia to the borough, which will assume responsibility for administering the funds for construction of a community education center in Seldovia.

Cash or in-kind contributions are to be made to the Boys and Girls Club of the Kenai Peninsula. The cash match will be at least $230,000.

Also at today's meeting, the assembly will hold another public hearing on Ordinance 2002-39, which proposes several changes to the borough's sales tax code. The measure was introduced Oct. 8. Hearings are scheduled tonight, Nov. 19 and Dec. 12.

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