Kenai capital projects moving along

  • By DAN BALMER
  • Monday, March 24, 2014 10:12pm
  • News

The City of Kenai is moving closer to checking a couple capital projects off its list, none bigger than the new 17,000-square-foot maintenance facility.

The city shop, a $4-million project built by Blazy Construction, should be substantially completed in early April, Capital Projects Manager Sean Wedemeyer said.

Construction began last August to replace the current maintenance facility, which resides at the corner of Airport Way and Willow Street, alongside the Parks and Recreation Department. The city has outgrown the current shop with more than 400 pieces of city equipment, from snow removal trucks to public works vehicles, Wedemeyer said.

The new shop on Marathon Road has five overhead doors and adequate space for drive-in repairs of large vehicles and for shop workers to assemble, store and upkeep city equipment, he said.

Kenai City Manager Rick Koch said from the time the steel framing went up to now the building actually looks smaller from the outside; it looks bigger on the inside.

At the Kenai City Council meeting on March 19, mayor Pat Porter announced $500 from the Mini-Grant Steering Committee would be awarded to Kia Youngren-Brown, a Kenai Central High School student, for a mural to be painted inside the maintenance shop wall.

With the new shop built on city property, the city will save more than $35,000 a year in leasing costs to the airport, Kenai Finance Director Terry Eubank said.

The City of Kenai made a stride in another capital project, awarding a bid to Nelson Engineering PC for the design of a new reservoir and replacement of a water main.

After receiving bids from five firms last month, a selection committee of four city employees agreed on Nelson Engineering for the amount of $369,062. The city council awarded the bid in a resolution at its March 19 meeting.

The scope of the project is for a one million gallon water reservoir and replacement of approximately 2,100 feet of existing water main that was originally installed in 1970.

The city had already secured a municipal matching grant of $1,557,000 in 2010 from the state for the replacement of the asbestos concrete water main from the city production well. The estimated replacement cost is $745,000 and the project should begin this summer, said Wedemeyer, the Kenai Public Works Director.

Work on the new reservoir is not expected to begin until February 2015, he said.

The city council approved an ordinance to appropriate the funds to replace the 44-year-old section of water main from along Swires Road to Lawton Drive on the Kenai Spur Highway at its March 19 meeting. The ordinance required a 30 percent match from the city of $667,286.

Last year, the council approved an ordinance to provide funding for the construction of approximately 350 feet of 10-inch high density polyethylene piping and install a well pump to tie into the water treatment facility.

Koch said while the new reservoir design and water main replacement projects are different and will be completed at different times the city has been appropriating the necessary funds to complete the project to improve the efficiency of the city water system.

Wedemeyer said the replacement of the water main is eventually essential because the asbestos-cement becomes brittle as it ages.

“The water main brings water to town and while we do have loop system we may have problems with water pressure and flow rate, he said. “We are being proactive to replace the main now to ensure continued reliability.”

Reach Dan Balmer at daniel.balmer@peninsulaclarion.com.

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