Soldotna drafts wish list

Posted: Friday, October 31, 2008

Soldotna city staffers have drafted a slate of proposed capital improvement projects for the city council to consider as it prepares a priority list for the borough to submit to the state.

The intent of the priority list is for the Kenai Peninsula Borough to seek Alaska Legislature assistance in obtaining grant funding from various state sources.

Atop Soldotna's preliminary list is phase two of the Soldotna Creek Park development project, estimated to cost $250,000. The work would include construction of permanent rest room facilities, trails and a power distribution system as well as park landscaping.

Phase one involved conceptual design completed nearly one year ago.

City Manager Larry Semmens said the borough deadline for receiving the city's priority list is Nov. 13. He plans to present a capital projects priority list resolution for the council's approval at its next meeting, Nov. 5.

The Soldotna City Council changed its meeting calendar for November to the first and third Wednesdays, rather than the previously scheduled second and fourth Wednesdays.

Following the park development project on the priority list is expanding the Soldotna public library. Potential funding sources for the $10 million-plus expansion are city revenue, state funds, city bonds, private donations and possible Rasmuson Foundation grant funds. A Kenai architect, last week, told the council the expansion could cost between $12 million and $13 million.

The $2.6 million rerouting of Funny River Road around Soldotna Municipal Airport is next on the city's priority list. Because the project involves the airport, $2.5 million, or 95 percent, is expected to come from the Federal Aviation Administration. The remaining 5 percent would be split between the state and city. No grants have been applied for yet.

Paving the entrance road to Centennial Park all the way from Kalifornsky Beach Road to the boat launch on the Kenai River is next on the city's priority list. The road work, plus the installation of seasonal water and sewer lines in the park are expected to cost $750,000.

The first four priority projects are followed by a number of water system and sewer improvements ranging from $75,000 to $812,000. State funding through the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation would be sought.

Semmens told the council members the difference between priority number five and priority number six is not significant, but the difference between number one and number six "does send a message" to the Legislature.

After participating in a recent walk with kids to school event, Councilman Peter Micciche, who took office Monday as newly elected mayor of Soldotna, said having pedestrian cross walks and warning lights in front of Soldotna Middle School and Redoubt Elementary School should be added to the capital projects list.

He indicated that additional residential development down West Redoubt Avenue beyond the schools has increased the amount of traffic driving past the schools.

The council is expected to vote on the resolution finalizing the priority list at the Nov. 5 meeting.

Phil Hermanek can be reached at phillip.hermanek@peninsulaclarion.com.



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