Assembly backs community projects

Posted: Monday, November 26, 2007

Embracing its support roll, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly passed three resolutions Tuesday in support of grant applications for community projects, including student housing, a bike path and dock facility improvements.

Resolution 2007-075, sponsored by Assemblyman Pete Sprague of Soldotna, supports construction of a 100-bed student-housing complex at Kenai Peninsula College's Kenai River Campus.

The college serves a borough service area of more than 25,000 square miles, but it has no housing for students wanting to live on campus.

In addition, many of the villages from which students come are remote and off the road system, meaning many of those students have limited choices, such as attending a major University of Alaska campus or a school Outside.

For some bush students, meeting educational goals in unfamiliar urban settings can be difficult. With smaller classes and tutoring programs, KPC can be attractive. It would be more so were there available and affordable on-campus housing.

The assembly has requested $10 million for KPC housing in its last three priority lists sent to the Alaska Legislature. This latest resolution supports and encourages the efforts of the University of Alaska to construct the 100-bed complex.

Resolution 2007-076 encourages the state of Alaska to build a bike path along the north side of Kalifornsky Beach Road to continue a path from the Bridge Access Road intersection to Cannery Road.

Assembly members Gary Knopp of Kalifornsky, and Margaret Gilman of Kenai, sponsored the resolution.

The assembly's support stems from community wishes that the state construct a bike path along the road when they rebuild K-Beach Road. The thoroughfare borders heavily populated areas, and children routinely ride bikes along the stretch of road to local schools.

"Although construction of a bike path adds to the expense of this project, doing so greatly improves safety," Knopp and Gilman said in a recent memo to their assembly colleagues.

K-Beach Road has a 200-foot right of way, large enough to accommodate a bike path.

Copies of the resolution will be sent to Gov. Sarah Palin, the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, and state and federal lawmakers.

Resolution 2007-077 supports Port Graham Village's grant application for funding to replace an aging wooden dock built in 1968. Its timbers are rotting and the facility can no longer support heavy loads, requiring barges to land on the outside beach.

Besides making deliveries easier, the dock would improve connections between the cannery and hatchery, and to the road and marine highway systems. It would also provide an incentive to encourage further economic development in Port Graham.

The community already has dedicated $5,000 in local funding toward design costs and will provide the public right of way.

The Port Graham Village Council has requested funding for the project from the Denali Commission.

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