Graphic by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion

Graphic by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion

Kenai council thanks Dunleavy for proposed bluff funds

Gov. Mike Dunleavy including funding for Kenai bluff erosion in his proposed budget

The City of Kenai will send a formal thank you letter to Gov. Mike Dunleavy for including funding for the bluff erosion project in his proposed fiscal year 2022 budget. The move to send the support letter was approved unanimously by the Kenai City Council during the body’s Wednesday meeting.

“I wanted (Dunleavy) to personally get a letter of thanks letting him know how appreciative we are,” council member Glenese Pettey, who brought forth the letter, said during the meeting.

Dunleavy’s budget, first presented last month, is subject to final approval by the Alaska Legislature, but has earmarked $6.5 million for a project to stabilize the Kenai bluff. The Kenai River Bluff Stabilization Project has been identified as a priority by the City of Kenai for decades and aims to stabilize roughly 5,000 feet of bluff on the north shore of the Kenai River, starting from the mouth of the river and ending near Pacific Star Seafoods.

The bluff is currently receding at a rate of about 3 feet per year, with the tentative stabilization plan to construct a berm at the toe of the bluff, per a recommendation from the Army Corps of Engineers. The total project cost will be split between the federal government, which will pay 65%, and the City of Kenai, which will pay 35%.

The city’s letter says that the $6.5 million currently proposed in the budget would be used to help cover the city’s local match of $10.5 million.

“This provides an outstanding return on the investment of the State’s money, while helping the City save critical infrastructure and drive additional private capital investment in Old Town Kenai, preserving a significant asset that benefits the Kenai Peninsula and the State,” the letter reads.

Dunleavy first unveiled his proposed budget during a press conference last month. The Alaska Legislature, which must approve a final budget, reconvenes Jan. 18.

The council’s full meeting can be viewed on the City of Kenai’s YouTube channel.

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