Riverbank still off limits

Soldotna council approves restoration project design

Posted: Tuesday, November 22, 2005

For some time, the city of Soldotna has been in a balancing act, assuring people have access to Kenai River fishing right in the heart of the city while protecting the sensitive riverbank from damage caused by all the foot traffic.

At the recommendation of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, the Soldotna City Council approved a conceptual design for the Soldotna Creek restoration project.

Last summer, a section of the riverbank below the former Department of Transportation site was closed to fishing as city workers placed large spruce tree root wads along the shore to help prevent erosion.

The restoration project now includes repairing the lower 250 feet of riverbank, adding river access stairs and building a handicap-accessible, terraced gravel walkway leading down to the prime fishing spots.

Estimated cost of the project is between $400,000 and $425,000, which is expected to be paid for with Natural Resources Conservation Services grant funds.

Parks and Recreation Director Andrew Carmichael said on Monday the project would cost about $400,000 and $25,000 would be used for education signage.

“If we tell people about the erosion problems, they understand and want to help protect the area so there will be fishing for generations to come,” he said.

Carmichael said the popular fishing spot will be closed again this coming season, and said he expects it to open in 2007.

In other business, the city council directed city administration to prepare an ordinance to realign the terms of office of the city’s various boards and commissions.

Currently board members’ terms expire at many different points of the calendar year and terms range from one to three years.

Under the realignment, all terms would expire Dec. 31.

Initially board members and commissioners would be appointed to varying term lengths so term expirations would be staggered over three years.

Some would be appointed to one-year terms, some to two-year terms and some to three-year terms.

Once the staggered term expiration is in effect, all future appointments would be three-year terms, according to City Clerk Teresa Fahning.

The council also approved transferring $17,800 to the capital project extending water and sewer lines along Funny River Road. The appropriation is to cover project overruns caused in part by charges being made for city staff time during a busy construction season and additional charges submitted by consultants.

The council did not act on a proposed resolution amending a planned unit development agreement with Rosemount Inc.

The company asked the city to allow people buying units in Phase 2 of Mountain Rose Estates off Kobuk Street to move into the units before access streets are built.

By not taking action, the agreement remains unchanged at least until it is brought up at the next council meeting Nov. 30.

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