Some U.S. veterans will soon be able to purchase residential land in the City of Kenai at a discounted rate following city council approval of a new city program last week.
The legislation, sponsored by council member James Baisden, allows eligible U.S. veterans a one-time opportunity to purchase residential land in the City of Kenai at a discounted rate. Baisden wrote in an Oct. 24 memo accompanying the ordinance that the program is modeled after one run by the State of Alaska, which similarly allows veterans to buy state land at a discounted price.
Baisden told council members that he is a veteran, but that he does not plan to take advantage of the program.
Eligible veterans include those who are at least 18 years old and have lived in Alaska for at least one year immediately prior to the sale. Interested veterans must also submit proof that they served in the Alaska Territorial Guard or on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for at least 90 days. Veterans whose service was shortened due to a disability associated with their service are also eligible.
Baisden said during the city council’s Nov. 15 meeting that he timed the ordinance such that it would be considered around Veterans Day, adding that the program was one he’d had on his mind “for a few months.”
“In the State of Alaska, we have a large number of veterans — on the Kenai Peninsula specifically we have a lot,” Baisden said.
Per data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau as part of the 2022 American Community Survey, roughly 1 in 10 adults living in Alaska is a veteran. That rate is higher in the Kenai Peninsula Borough, where about 5,300 of roughly 47,000 adult residents — 11.2% — are veterans.
In other words, of the more than 533,000 adults estimated to be living in Alaska, about 54,000 have served in the military.
Of those, more than a third — about 35.6% — served after September 2001 and another 32.5% served between 1990 and August 2001. Roughly 31% of Alaska veterans served during the Vietnam War, and 2% served during the Korean War. Most Alaska veterans — about 87.4% — are male, while 12.6% are female.
Multiple council members during the Nov. 15 expressed support for the program. The ordinance passed unanimously.
Kenai City Council meetings can be streamed on the city’s YouTube channel.
Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at firstname.lastname@example.org.