Paul Ostrander

 

Municipalities all over the country go at marketing themselves in different ways. Sometimes it’s in a specific direction, like tourism. Or their efforts are aimed at trying to court new businesses into town. In Kenai, those sorts of questions are just starting to get tossed around.

 

 


The Kenai River's annual dipnet fishery started on Wednesday. On this week's Kenai Conversation, we talk with Kenai city manager Paul Ostrander about the city's role in seeing that things go smoothly for those three weeks and what the city is doing to try and capture a few more of those tourism dollars that can be just as difficult to catch as a net full of reds.


The city of Kenai will release its draft budget for the next fiscal year in a couple weeks. City manager Paul Ostrander spoke with KDLL’s Shaylon Cochran about putting together a new budget amid all the uncertainty with the state budget. Last year’s general fund appropriations totaled a little more than $16 million with all expenditures coming in at just over $28 million and Ostrander expects a modest increase in the 2020 budget of less than one percent.

Alaska Gasline Development Corporation

 

It’s been two years since the Municipal Advisory Gas Project Review Board met. The group was formed in 2014 by former Governor Sean Parnell to give cities along the planned 800-mile route of the AK LNG line a voice in how the project is developed. And now, with a new administration in Juneau and a busy 2019 planned for the gas project, the group could be getting back together, and potentially with a new member.

Remodeling at the Kenai Municipal Airport terminal has begun. City Manager Paul Ostrander informed the city council of that at last week’s meeting.

“Construction did begin last week. However, there’s only going to be a small amount of work done before winter comes,” he said. “And the real work won’t begin until late-winter, early spring, probably April May. So there’ll probably not be a lot to see until we get into spring of next year.”

The City of Kenai is scrambling to find a new operator of the city dock, after being informed the past vendor will not be returning and not getting any response from others.

“And I notified Harbor Commission of this the other night that our concessioner that has been operating the dock for the last couple of years, Copper River Seafoods, is not interested in pursuing that again this year. We did not find that out until a couple of weeks ago," City Manager Paul Ostrander explained to the Kenai City Council.

Spring may still be around the corner, with summer just a fond hope for the future, but the city of Kenai is actively working on projects to make the July dipnet season more convenient for participants. 

At last week’s meeting, the Kenai City Council voted to move funds from a completed South Beach access project, to needs on the north side of the river.

The out-sized home near the southern mouth of the Kenai River is finally out of the city of Kenai’s hair. Known as the Dragseth Mansion, the sale was finalized earlier this month, according to City Manager Paul Ostrander.

“We did receive on February 5th the remainder of the funds for the Dragseth Mansion, so that’s been completed now,” he said. “It actually was received on time, so we are no longer the owner of that.”

There was another strong earthquake felt in Kenai almost exactly two years ago, though much closer than Tuesday morning's 7.9 event, meaning it caused a whole lot more damage in the Central Peninsula.

Some of that damage occurred to the Kenai City Dock during the January 24th, 2016, 7.1 earthquake.

City Manager Paul Ostrander explained to the Kenai City Council the administration’s plan to repair the damage, using funds left over from two other, completed projects.