A polar bear is displayed inside of the Kenai Municipal Airport on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

A polar bear is displayed inside of the Kenai Municipal Airport on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Airport in final phases of sand storage project

The approximately 5,600-square-foot building is slated for completion in the spring or summer of 2022.

The City of Kenai is finalizing funding for the new sand storage facility at the Kenai Municipal Airport. The approximately 5,600-square-foot building, which will house sand and the airport’s snow removal equipment, is slated for completion in the spring or summer of 2022 after construction was pushed back due to supply chain issues, Kenai Municipal Airport Manager Eland Conway said in an email Tuesday.

Legislation up for consideration at Wednesday’s city council meeting would accept a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration for the project’s second phase and approve budget transfers related to the project.

Conway wrote in a Nov. 22 memo to the city council that the project was divided into two continuous phases at the request of the FAA. Funding for the first phase was awarded in September of 2020, while funding for the second phase was awarded in May of 2021.

“Authorization of a budget transfer to move previously advanced funds from construction to the Airport Special Revenue fund is needed to return previously advanced funds,” the legislation says. “Acceptance of the Phase II grant, a budget transfer to facilitate the return of advanced funds and this appropriation is in the best interest of the City.”

The total cost of the project is around $2.8 million, about $2 million of which was appropriated as part of the first phase and the remaining about $880,000 of which was appropriated earlier this year. The City of Kenai forward funded the second phase of the project earlier this year from the city’s Airport Special Revenue Fund.

Because the sand used on the runway by the airport contains calcium and salt, which can degrade concrete, the concrete used in the new building will be of a higher strength and will be resistant to some chemicals, according to previous Clarion reporting.

The sand was previously stored in an airport building that is not insulated, leaving it vulnerable to freezing. That can damage equipment trying to dig into it.

Wednesday’s city council meeting can be streamed live on the City of Kenai’s YouTube channel.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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