The Kenai waterfront can be seen from Old Town Kenai on April 27, 2018, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion file)

The Kenai waterfront can be seen from Old Town Kenai on April 27, 2018, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion file)

Kenai council postpones approval of waterfront study contract

The move was to give newly elected members more time to thoroughly acquaint themselves with the project.

Kenai will have to wait a bit longer to start assessing the feasibility of developing its waterfront area.

The Kenai City Council voted Wednesday to postpone a contract award for the study in order to give newly elected members more time to thoroughly acquaint themselves with the project.

The legislation, if approved, would award an agreement of just under $95,000 to McKinley Research Group, LLC for the Kenai Waterfront Redevelopment Assessment and Feasibility study. The city also received bids from PDC, A Division of RESPEC Company LLC and Agnew :: Beck. The Kenai City Council approved $95,000 for a feasibility study during their Sept. 1 meeting.

The project, first identified as a priority in the city’s “Imagine Kenai 2030” comprehensive plan, was formally put up for consideration earlier this year, with Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander describing the project area as “untapped potential.” The council held a public work session to discuss the project with stakeholders in August, where owners of property in or near the project area shared their perspectives.

The project looks to revitalize a section of property along Bridge Access Road from Millennium Square to the city dock. Proposed incentive programs described by city documents include, in addition to waterfront revitalization, exempting economic developments from city property tax, which the plan says would incentivize capital investment, and exempting depreciating properties from city tax, which would encourage the development of deteriorating buildings.

Council member James Baisden, who took his seat on the council Wednesday, requested that the council postpone a vote on the legislation so that he could better familiarize himself with the details of the project.

“I just can’t articulate right now why I would support it,” Baisden said. “I want to get a little bit more information.”

Baisden voiced concerns about whether the city was telling private property owners in the project area what the city wants to do with the land, which were echoed by some other council members.

Kenai Finance Director Terry Eubank, who filled in for Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander during Wednesday’s council meeting, said a priority of the study would be to engage the community to develop a “core concept” for the project.

“The administration is not proposing what that development down there should look like,” Eubank said. “It is absolutely our intent that this consultant engage with the community to develop what the community wants that area to look like.”

According to official meeting minutes from that work session, eight members of the public spoke about the project. Of those, six testified in support of developing the waterfront while the other two did not specifically address the redevelopment project. Of the six who spoke in favor, one person owned property in the project area and two said they owned property adjacent to the project area.

Wednesday’s full meeting of the Kenai City Council can be viewed on the City of Kenai’s YouTube channel.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at

More in News

Vehicles are unleaded at the Seward Harbor after being moved from Lowell Point on Sunday, May 22, 2022 in Seward, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management)
Lowell Point barge services move 110-plus cars to Seward

The services were covered by the Kenai Peninsula Borough and ended Monday

Anglers fish on the Kenai River on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O'Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Watershed Forum receives matching grant from Conoco

The Kenai Watershed Forum was given a grant from ConocoPhillips to fund… Continue reading

A beach on the eastern side of Cook Inlet is photographed at Clam Gulch, Alaska, in June 2019. The Alaska Board of Fisheries is implementing new shellfish regulations in Cook Inlet. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Fish and Game closes East Cook Inlet razor clam fisheries

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has closed the Cook Inlet… Continue reading

Anastasia Scollon (left) and Willow King (right) stand in The Goods + Sustainable Grocery and Where it’s At mindful food and drink on Monday, May 16, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Sustainable shopping finds new home in Soldotna

The Collective used to operate out of Cook Inletkeeper’s Community Action Studio

The Alaska State Capitol is seen on Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Legislature modernizes 40-year-old definition of consent in sexual assault cases

‘Alaska took a gargantuan step forward in updating our laws,’ says deputy attorney general

Project stakeholders cut a ribbon at the Nikiski Shelter of Hope on Friday, May 20, 2022, in Nikiski, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Stakeholders celebrate opening of Nikiski shelter

The shelter officially opened last December

Peter Segall / Juneau Empire
Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks with reporters Thursday about the state’s budget at the Alaska State Capitol. Dunleavy said lawmakers had sent a complete budget, and that there was no need for a special session.
Dunleavy: No need for special session

Governor calls budget “complete”

A magnet promoting the Alaska Reads Act released sits atop a stack of Alaskan-authored and Alaska-centric books. Lawmakers passed the Alaska Reads Act on the last day of the legislative session, but several members of the House of Representatives were upset with the bill, and the way it was passed. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
In last-minute move, Legislature passes early reading overhaul

Rural lawmakers push back on Alaska Reads Act

Graduates wait to receive diplomas during Connections Homeschool’s commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 19, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Connections honors more than 100 graduates

The home-school program held a ceremony Thursday in Soldotna

Most Read