Mock-up illustration of in-development Kahtnu Area Transit Bus (Image courtesy Kenaitze Indian Tribe)

Mock-up illustration of in-development Kahtnu Area Transit Bus (Image courtesy Kenaitze Indian Tribe)

Kenaitze purchase Kenai’s former Kendall Ford building for transportation hub

Hetl Qenq’a will also serve as a hub for the upcoming Kahtnu Area Transit, a fixed route public bus service

The former Kendall Ford location in Kenai will be the transportation center for the Kenaitze Indian Tribe as they further expand transportation services, they announced earlier this month.

According to a media release published by the tribe on Feb. 9, they purchased the facility to serve as a “transportation hub.” It will be called Hetl Qenq’a, Dena’ina for “Sled House.”

The building, located on the Kenai Spur Highway, has more than 20,000 square feet of floor space, and will support a transportation fleet of 65 vehicles. The space will be used for cleaning and maintaining the tribe’s vehicles and for office and conference space for transportation staff.

“Access to reliable transportation is a major barrier for many people in our community,” Tribal Council Chair Bernadine Atchison says in the release. “The Tribe continues to work to fill in the gaps to meet the need. We’re excited to have a facility to house our Transportation program, and to help our Tribe and our community thrive.”

Hetl Qenq’a will also serve as a hub for the upcoming Kahtnu Area Transit, a fixed route public bus service, which the release says “the tribe is close to launching.”

Kahtnu Area Transit was once forecast to be launched at the start of 2023, and at a public meeting held in November, the tribe said that plans were coming together. There, consulting firm R&M Consultants presented a proposed route for the service that included 21 stops between Kenai and Soldotna. The tribe said then that they were proceeding through key approvals with the Federal Transit Authority for elements like the design of the buses.

For more information, visit kenaitze.org or find “Kenaitze Indian Tribe” on Facebook.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

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