Public Radio for the Central Kenai Peninsula
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Support public radiao — donate today!

Three summers of music

Soldotna's 2022 series opened with Medium Build on June 1. The last concert this summer is Matt Hopper & The Roman Candles, on Aug. 31.
Sabine Poux
Soldotna's 2022 series opened with Medium Build on June 1. The last concert this summer is Matt Hopper & The Roman Candles, on Aug. 31.

In the years since they started, Soldotna’s weekly concerts in Soldotna Creek Park have become a staple of Wednesday summer nights.

Those concerts are funded by the Levitt Foundation, which awards Levitt AMP grants of $90,000, spanning three years, to small communities across the country.

Soldotna is one of nearly 40 communities that has a grant this cycle. It will hear at the end of August if it will get funding a second time, covering the next three years.

Nicole McGaffey is communications manager at Levitt AMP and is doing a site visit to Soldotna this week. She said Wednesday the ethos of the program is to bring communities together in traditionally underutilized spaces over free music — and that Soldotna’s application back in 2018 was a great fit..

Nicole McGaffey: I remember being struck by the momentum that was already happening in this space. It sounded like this community treasure that the community had really bound together to save, to give a new life to. And just hearing more about the evolution of Soldotna Creek Park today has really reiterated this.

It had already gone on a beautiful journey before Levitt AMP even came into the picture, and Levitt AMP just has marked this new chapter in its life.

So I think any impactful and successful creative placemaking project is community driven, and that just came across in the application. That folks were working together from all different sectors to really celebrate this wonderful asset in a community and activate it.

KDLL: Tell me about some of the other cities that have Levitt AMP grants and what they've done with that money. 

NM: The last time I was on the road, I had a chance to go to Utica, N.Y., where they have a beautifully diverse population, a really large refugee community. And so one of their goals was really creating a place that was safe and welcoming to all of the residents, or all the folks who called Utica home — whether they were new to this country or had been there for decades, for centuries.

So they used they leveraged the Levitt AMP grant opportunity to work with partners and work with vendors and artisans from all across their community to create that space, to work with everybody to make a welcoming living room in their community, if you will.

KDLL: Your visit here isn’t over yet. But do you have any takeaways so far about what Soldotna has done with the Levitt AMP Grant or what you'd like to see from the city going forward?

NM: Well, I haven't actually been to the concert. I am so excited to experience that tonight.

But from what I've seen, I am so moved. The way that you all have leveraged this opportunity to become a platform for other businesses and artists and folks to really thrive.

It's so much more than music what happens on that lawn. Don't get me wrong — I love music, and the music is a very important component of what's going on. But at the end of the day, we are in the business of trying to build healthy, equitable and thriving communities. And from the little bit I've seen, it looks like that is what is going on here and Soldotna.

So I am so excited to see the concert in action tonight.

Sabine Poux is a producer and reporter for the Brave Little State podcast of Vermont Public. She was formerly news director and evening news host at KDLL in Kenai.

Originally from New York, Sabine has lived and reported in Argentina and Vermont and Kenai.
Related Content