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Soldotna seeks to create new ‘main street’ along Kenai River

October 29, 2021 GMT

SOLDOTNA, Alaska (AP) — The city of Soldotna wants to create a new “main street” running parallel to the Kenai River.

City officials on Thursday applied for a $360,000 federal grant that they hope would fund planning for the project that is also expected to boost capital investment in the area, the Peninsula Clarion reported.

The planning project is estimated to take about 18 months and would help with efforts to design a new “main street” adjacent to the river. It would address about 85 acres (34 hectares) of land running along the Kenai River, from Soldotna Creek Park to the Sterling Highway bridge.

Many of the riverfront properties are privately owned, and development would require private and public partnerships.

Currently, there is no road or trail that offers developed public access or views of the Kenai River between the highway bridge and state-owned land. Three dead-end roads stop short of the river.

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“Based on the number of no trespassing signs in many places the river today is more of an attractive nuisance than an asset,” city documents say.

City officials informed city council members that previous discussions with landowners indicated their support for collecting more information to determine how feasible the project could be.

If approved, funding for the grant would come from the American Rescue Plan Act signed by President Joe Biden earlier this year.

Soldotna has already spent $90,000 of its own funds on the project.