Kenai to keep public up on Wal-Mart development

Posted: Friday, November 04, 2005

At least two members of the Kenai City Council want to assure the public is kept in the loop on developments involving the proposed Wal-Mart Super Center coming to town.

At Wednesday’s council meeting, council member Cliff Massie asked if there is any plan to inform the public as the project progresses.

Mayor Pat Porter said, “The information is available at City Hall anytime.”

Chuck Kopp, Kenai’s interim city manager, announced a week ago that the world’s largest retailer signed a lease application with the city to build a 235,000 square-foot store on a parcel of land wrapping around behind Kenai Chrysler from the “dust bowl” ball field on the Kenai Spur Highway to Marathon Road.

The proposed Wal-Mart super center would include general merchandise, groceries, a garden center, a six-bay tire and lube express shop and a gas station.

The Wal-Mart lease will be a topic of discussion at the Kenai Planning and Zoning Commission meeting Wednesday, with an opportunity for public input at that time, and the public will have an opportunity to comment on the matter when it comes before a future city council meeting, according to Porter.

Newly elected council member Bob Molloy said he took it upon himself to put some information on his personal Web site, including the three-page lease application and a project site map.

The Web site contained the information Thursday, and Molloy said he would include additional maps, a restricted appraisal report, an Army Corps of Engineers preliminary wetlands determination and other information as it is available.

“Not everyone can just come on down to City Hall and make an appointment to see the information,” Molloy said Thursday.

“I think it’s more convenient for most people to look at it on the Internet,” he said.

Members of the public have expressed opinions for and against the coming of Wal-Mart in newspaper articles, letters to the editor and on a Kenai Peninsula radio phone-in program since Kopp announced the receipt of the lease application.

Molloy said putting the information on his Web site abides by a campaign pledge he made to voters that he would be available to the public.

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