The City of Kenai has identified its state and federal budget requests for fiscal year 2012 with a list of capital improvement projects.
Top of the list is the Kenai River bluff erosion and stabilization project, but it also includes fish cleaning tables for the personal use fishery, and a pedestrian path across Bridge Access Road.
"We'll ask for as much as we can get," said Kenai City Manager Rick Koch.
In total, the city is hoping for more than $30 million from the government for ten different projects.
The city has been working on compiling funds for the $29 million bluff erosion project for the last three years. The one-mile area along the bluff has been eroding at a rate of three feet per year and without stabilization an estimated $50 million in property and improvements will be lost over the next 50 years.
With Kenai voters' approval of a $2 million bond sale for this project in the 2007 election, funds spent on engineering studies, previous appropriations and a quarry rock donation from the Kenai Peninsula Borough, the city has about $10.2 million in-hand.
And it's looking for $1.75 million from the state this funding cycle, Koch said.
With that money, "we will have the complete local share in hand and then we're just trying to get the federal money," he said.
That means the city is looking for some $17 million from the U.S. Corps of Engineers for the project.
Koch said that he has a tentative meeting next week to speak with Gov. Sean Parnell about a $300,000 project to put stations for fish cleaning, waste transfer and data collection on Kenai beaches.
At an area candidate's forum, Parnell "specifically pointed out he was interested in partnering with the local government to minimize the impact of the personal use fishery," Koch said.
He said the state's personal use fishery is a positive and negative for the city. The number of participants has been increasing such that the city cannot respond to the crowds with its existing resources.
"The state recognizes the issues with fish waste down on the beach," Koch said.
An estimated 15,000 people participate in the personal use fishery when at the mouth of the Kenai, Koch said.
The stations would be located at the north and south beaches and at the city's boat launch.
A pedestrian path from the Kenai Spur Highway to Kalifornsky Beach Road across Bridge Access Road "continues to be a priority for the city," Koch said.
The proposed $2 million project would create a 2-mile long path and complete the 24-mile Unity Trail that connects Kenai and Soldotna.
But, the project might be a long shot, Koch said.
"I don't see any short term funding solutions for that," he said.
And regulatory agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are opposed to the project.
"I just want to keep it out there," Koch said.
The city is also hoping for paving and road improvements to its 20 miles of gravel surfaced streets, new water transmission mains, a new city maintenance shop, a vehicle storage facility for Kenai Senior Center, a new HVAC system for city hall, energy upgrades to the Kenai Recreation Center, and renovations to the Kenai Wastewater treatment plant.
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