In my last few months as mayor and a physician in the local community I have had a chance to reflect on 33 great years of living in Soldotna. I have had the opportunity of meeting many of the early pioneers to this area as well as Native legends such as Peter Kalifornsky.
In the last year, Marge Mullen reviewing some historical maps with my Boy Scouts added considerably to my understanding of those early Kenai Peninsula settlers. She noted, for example, that the man for whom Binkley Street is named was kind of an ornery cuss and the reason we have the Sports Complex land is because two brothers who claimed it did not spend enough time on the land to be able to prove up their claim.
I am told the first Progress Days were basically fundraisers for churches and other organizations and more of a festival. For the first big parade, Zell Wright apparently got Ted Stevens to send the Air Force band to lead the parade. This was the great community gathering for the year because everybody knew everybody.
The community has grown a great deal since that time, but hopefully we can maintain that spirit of friendship. Soldotna Creek Park is being used by everyone for music, movies and other festivals. Centennial Park and Swiftwater Park have been expanded and improved which benefits both residents and visitors. Walgreen’s is nearing completion and we have had a number of construction projects finished. My favorite is the sidewalk/bike path along Riverside Drive to connect the trail from Kaliforsnky Beach Road through to Kobuk.
We are always pleased when we can have economic development that allows us to produce jobs to keep our residents in the local area. Obviously we want to balance development with protection of our environment and I believe the City Council is doing a good job of that.
This weekend is a celebration of all that is good in our community we hope that you will come and enjoy the festivities. On Saturday I will be working with the Dutch Oven cook-off and City Council members will be passing out food on Sunday.
— Mayor Nels Anderson, MD