The city of Kenai continues to pick up parcels of land along the bluff in anticipation of a major bluff erosion project.
The city council ok’d the purchase of just over 4 acres below Peninsula Avenue in Old Town. City manager Paul Ostrander says the purchase is necessary before the Army Corps of Engineers can move ahead with their long-anticipated project to shore up the bluff near town.
“We’re continually pursuing the acquisition of these properties that were identified. This is one of those. This parcel is actually entirely below the bluff. Administration continues to pursue the remainder of these (parcels). We reached agreement with these individuals back in July of 2017, but it took until February of this year to get the second signature on the purchase agreement.”
The lands had been held in trust and cost the city $4,200. Ostrander says this particular area will get some attention soon, ahead of the big federal project. City infrastructure designed to capture storm runoff from Peninsula Avenue had degraded significantly over the winter.
“There was a head wall that was built and a culvert that dropped from the head wall and took this flow out and onto the beach. The head wall doesn’t exist anymore. The culvert is almost entirely gone. We knew about this last year. We went in late January or early February and inspected it once again. It eroded a significant amount since last summer, to the tune of 20-30 feet, to the point where we felt it was imperative to get this done sooner rather than later, otherwise Peninsula Avenue would have potentially been in jeopoardy.”
Cost to design a new head wall and culvert will be about $20,000, and it will be done in a way that can be included in the bigger bluff erosion project the city hopes will be approved by the federal government later this year.