City seeks accelerated funding for bluff erosion project

Dec 21, 2018

 

The city of Kenai has been working with the federal government for decades to shore up the bluff along Cook Inlet.
Credit Redoubt Reporter

There could be some major developments for the long-planned bluff erosion project in Kenai in 2019.

City manager Paul Ostrander told the council at its meeting this week he’s pursuing accelerated funding for the project through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“What we’re going to do is draft a letter that goes to the Alaska district that states that the city of Kenai is willing to fully fund the design phase of this project. However, if the project goes through to construction, the design phase contribution that we made would be credited toward our ultimate cost share of 35 percent. So basically, we are spending money now, and it will be credited so we spend less when we get to construction.”

He says getting approval puts the project in a good position down the road, as many federally funded local projects will get an initial report, but end up going nowhere.

“There’s a lot of these feasibility reports done around the country and they’ll sit on the shelf for years, never getting the federal funding necessary to get to the design phase. So if we can get approval to actually work through the design phase, it basically gets us in front of all these other projects and positions us for federal funding for the construction part of it, so I think this is the right move.”

Ostrander says getting approval will require a trip to Washington D.C. In February, and if all goes well there, the accelerated funding could be approved within a couple months.