An artist’s rendering of beautification possibilities along the Sterling Highway. The illustration is meant to show how the adjacent private property can be tied to the streetscape by wrapping the retaining wall along the driveway, adding a hedge and accenting the entrance with trees. (City of Soldotna photo)

An artist’s rendering of beautification possibilities along the Sterling Highway. The illustration is meant to show how the adjacent private property can be tied to the streetscape by wrapping the retaining wall along the driveway, adding a hedge and accenting the entrance with trees. (City of Soldotna photo)

Soldotna beautification permits approved

The Alaska Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration approved the city of Soldotna’s application for a beautification and encroachment permit, according to Stephanie Queen’s city manager report. The permit allows the city to plant landscaping along portions of the Kenai Spur and Sterling Highway right of ways.

In her report, Queen said the city would continue working with adjacent landowners in coordinating landscaping design in key areas of the highway corridor. The report also states the project will be funded using money previously appropriated for right-of-way improvements.

Director of economic development for the city, John Czarnezki said the permit includes mostly vacant right-of-way land along the Sterling Highway.

“For example, there’s some Department of Transportation land at the C&C Mall, near the old Napa mall, in front of the old Blockbuster building, at Thompson’s Corner and on the strip of land between Napa and Arby’s,” Czarnezki said in an email Thursday.

The downtown beautification permit is just one small part of the city’s Downtown Improvement Plan. The plan came as the result of the city’s 2014 business owner survey, which showed maintenance and enhancement of Soldotna was a matter of civic pride and good business sense, according to the city’s website. The plan focuses on improving public parks and trails, new signage, landscaping in the highway right of ways, policy options encouraging redevelopment of underutilized buildings and parcels and other general beautification.

One example in the plan shows enhanced landscaping in front of the Blazy Mall, which shows a walkway, a private sign, hedges, aspen trees and a walking trail. This type of landscaping could potentially take up the space of existing parking. Such improvements could benefit the private landowner through curb appeal, and the community, according to the Downtown Improvement Plan.

The primary goal with the highway corridors is to improve visual continuity along the road. According to the plan, this can be achieved with seamless landscaping along the corridor and the adjacent property. The plan said this type of landscaping could draw people to existing business storefronts.

The recommendations in the Downtown Improvement Plan will also likely benefit cyclists and pedestrians.

“The overarching strategy behind these recommendations is to give Soldotna the look, feel, and functionality of a proper downtown — one in which multiple commercial and/or mixed-use streets are logically interconnected to serve pedestrians, cyclists, and automobile traffic,” the Downtown Improvement Plan. “Non-motorized paths serve a variety of users and connect them with logical destinations and streets.”

Details will be finalized over the winter, and construction will begin in next spring.

More in News

A map shows the location of a safety corridor project along the Sterling Highway between Sterling and Soldotna. (Photo courtesy of DOT&PF)
Sterling highway project to have limited environmental impact, assessment finds

The stretch highway to be improved reaches from Fred Meyer in Soldotna to the bridge over Moose River in Sterling

Donated blood is prepared for storage and eventual transport at the Blood Bank of Alaska’s Juneau location. There is a statewide shortage of donated blood. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
‘National blood crisis’ presents challenges in Alaska

Donation centers contend with COVID, weather and other disruptions as they work to stock hospitals.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks to reporters alongside, from left, Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., during a press conference regarding the Democratic party’s shift to focus on voting rights at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades)
Big voting bill faces defeat as 2 Dems won’t stop filibuster

This is the fifth time the Senate will try to pass voting legislation this Congress

Members of the Kenai and Soldotna chambers of commerce listen to a briefing by Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan during a joint luncheon at the Soldotna Sports Complex on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Sullivan reports in from D.C.

The senator touched on infrastructure, voting rights, defense spending and the pandemic

The Alaska State Capitol building seen on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022 in Juneau, Alaska. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
State lawmakers face proposed salary hike, allowance limits

A commission voted 3-1 to raise the base salary from $50,400 a year to $64,000

Peter Segall / Juneau Empire
House Speaker Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, gave a stern warning about decorum to members of the Alaska House of Representatives on the first day of the legislative session on Tuesday, Jan 18, 2022. Last year the Legislature was so divided it took a full regular session and four special sessions before work was completed.
1st day of session brings familiar tensions to Legislature

The session opened with calls for bipartisanship, but tensions were evident

Image via Alaska Board of Fisheries
Statewide shellfish meeting rescheduled

This comes after the board bumped back its Southeast and Yakutat shellfish meeting

A State of Alaska epidemiology bulletin can be found at https://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Epi/pages/default.aspx.
State updates STI protocol after reported drop

The state has been experiencing an outbreak since 2017

The Kenai Fire Department headquarters are photographed on Feb. 13, 2018, in Kenai, Alaska. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Police identify remains found in burned car

Kenai Police and Fire departments responded to a car fire at Beaver Creek in Kenai on Jan. 7

Most Read