This satellite image from the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s parcel viewer shows an area of Old Town Kenai, on the blufftop overlooking the Kenai River mouth, where erosion has eaten away previously-existing land. (File photo)

This satellite image from the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s parcel viewer shows an area of Old Town Kenai, on the blufftop overlooking the Kenai River mouth, where erosion has eaten away previously-existing land. (File photo)

Kenai looks into accelerated funding for bluff project

Kenai is looking to set a path to move forward with the long-awaited bluff erosion project.

City Manager Paul Ostrander told the city council Wednesday that work on the project has been “pretty active over the last three weeks,” as Ostrander pursues accelerated funding for the project with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Ostrander said the city will draft a letter to the Alaska district of the Army Corps saying that the city of Kenai will fully fund the design phase of the bluff erosion project.

“However, if the project goes through to construction, the design phase contribution that we made would be credited toward our ultimate cost share of 35 percent,” Ostrander said. “So, basically, we are spending money now and it will be credited so we spend less when we get to construction.”

With this plan, Ostrander said Kenai’s bluff erosion process would take a good step forward following the Army Corps feasibility study, which was finalized in November.

“There’s a lot of these feasibility reports done around the country and they’ll sit on the shelf for years, never getting the federal funding necessary to get to the design phase,” Ostrander said. “If we can get approval to actually work through the design phase, it gets us in front of all these other projects and positions us for federal funding for the construction part of it, so I think this is the right move.”

The objective of the project, which has been in the works for more than 30 years, is to stall the 3-feet-per-year erosion on a 1-mile stretch of land starting from North Beach, past the senior center and ending where the original canneries were.

The idea is to install a mile-long rock berm, using anchor rocks that would halt the erosion of the ground beneath Old Town Kenai.

Ostrander said following the letter stating the city’s intent, approval for the accelerated funding will require more communication with the Army Corp and a trip to Washington, D.C.

“This letter is the first step in that, and it’s the path that we need to go down to get it to happen,” Ostrander said. “I can tell you it probably won’t be quick, because nothing with the Corp is quick … but it’s positive progress, I think, and it’s clearly an identified path that makes the most sense for the city.”

Reach Kat Sorensen at

More in News

The Alaska State Capitol on Friday, March 1, 2024, in Juneau, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Alaska House passes budget with roughly $2,275 payments to residents, bill goes to Senate

The bill also includes a roughly $175 million, one-time increase in aid to school districts that would be paid according to a funding formula

The Kenai River flows near Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, April 10, 2024. The Riverfront Redevelopment project will impact much of Soldotna’s riverside areas downstream to the bridge. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna riverfront redevelopment planning moves forward

Soldotna City Council on Monday unanimously approved the creation of a project manager to shepherd the Riverfront Redevelopment Project

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Corey Cannon, who plays baseball as part of Soldotna Little League, speaks to the Soldotna City Council during their meeting in Soldotna on Wednesday.
Soldotna Little League receives donation for facility repairs

The city owns the fields, but the Little League leases the land and is responsible for the maintenance of the facilities

Aleutian Airways logo. Photo courtesy of Aleutian Airways
Aleutian airways to halt Homer service during runway project

Service will be suspended beginning April 15

Homer pedestrian pathway project selected for federal funding

The project will create greater nonmotorized transportation access in Homer

Vendors speak to attendees of the Kenai Peninsula Job and Career Fair in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, April 10, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Job Fair draws employers, seekers

The Job Center has options and opportunities to connect people with training, coaching and funding

Vanessa Uei checks in guests during a grand opening for AK Wellness & Tanning in Kenai, Alaska, on Saturday, April 6, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
AK Wellness & Tanning holds grand opening for new location

The expanded location is along the Kenai Spur Highway in Kenai

The Kenai Senior Center’s dining space is readied for the annual March for Meals fundraiser in Kenai, Alaska, on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Photo by Ken Aaron, provided by Kenai Senior Center)
March for Meals raises funds to support senior food service

The local event was organized by Kenai Senior Connection and hosted at the Kenai Senior Center

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
An array of solar panels stand in the sunlight at Whistle Hill in Soldotna on Sunday.
Federal grant awarded for Whistle Hill solar project

The annual production of the completed system is estimated to be enough electricity to power 19 homes

Most Read