People with mobility issues have long had trouble reaching the upper levels of the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex, as it has no elevator. But that will soon change.
The Soldotna City Council last week authorized the city manager to waive the formal bidding process and enter into a contract with Alaska Stairlift and Elevator company of Anchorage for the installation of an inclined platform lift.
Councilman Paul Whitney asked Public Works Director Kyle Kornelis about the actual equipment, wondering what kind of lift it will be.
“It’s a wheelchair type, so it'll have a platform that can fold out of the way and not impact the stairs. There'll be a railing that gets installed on the stairs. And it has a continuous snake-like mechanism inside that will that will bring it to the top and bring it back down,” Kornelis said. “It's a platform that will have secure mechanisms for a wheelchair to go onto the platform, close the gate, make it secure, they can lock in and then that platform will go up to the upper level.”
Kornelis added that the lift has rails, and can be used by pedestrians who have trouble climbing the stairs as well. He added that a special PIN code could be issued to regular users of the lift so they can use it unattended.
He added that the sole-source contract was needed because there is only one vendor of these lifts in the state.
“In our estimation and research it is the preferred product for our application,” Kornelis said. “It has the bigger motor, it has a higher capacity, about a 50 percent faster speed and the reliability and cost-effectiveness exceed the other options available to the city.”
The council approved the no-bid contract on a 5-0 vote. The funds for the lift project were previously approved at $110,000, with $68,425 for the equipment and its installation.