EDD to host forum

Posted: Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Kenai Peninsula community development forum, sponsored by Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District, will be held Friday at the Challenger Learning Center in Kenai.

Several speakers from various organizations all over the peninsula will be presenting future projects and initiatives. Those speaking will include mayors Dave Carey and Pat Porter and U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski. The forum is scheduled to last throughout the day with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m. Closing remarks from KPEDD president Kristine Holdridge and KPEDD executive director John Torgerson are set for 3:30 p.m.

The forum is open to the public but those who plan on attending should RSVP immediately to Dee Gaddis at the KPEDD at 283-3335.

Torgerson said discussions will be held to determine how the KPEDD and Kenai Peninsula Borough can assist with future projects on the peninsula. Representatives from many of the agencies which provide grants that finance several of these projects will also be in attendance.

"It's a great opportunity for all of our organizations to talk right to the folks that fund so many of our projects," Torgerson said.

Torgerson also said the forum will be used as a way to gain insight from organizations to help the KPEDD complete its community economic development strategy report. He said the report should be finished by the end of November.

About 30 minutes will be set aside to discuss the creation of a Kenai Peninsula municipal conference.

Torgerson said the municipal conference would act much like Kenai Peninsula caucus did, which was last in existence in 1996. The municipal conference would represent the residents of the borough, not the borough government. Government agencies would be permitted as members, but the municipal conference would act on behalf of the borough as an entity, Torgerson said.

Should the municipal conference be created, anyone interested would be able to join, he said.

The municipal conference would be a non-partisan organization and could lobby on behalf of borough residents in Juneau.

Torgerson said the discussion Friday will just be used to gauge the interest in creating the municipal conference. If the interest is there, Torgerson said the KPEDD will pursue its creation.

Mike Nesper can be reached at mike.nesper@peninsulaclarion.com.

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