Soldotna campgrounds to open, accept credit cards for first time

It’s time break out the tent poles and hot dog skewers — Soldotna’s campgrounds will open for business on Monday.

City Manager Mark Dixson said during the Soldotna City Council’s Wednesday meeting that the Parks and Recreation Department staff are working to get the campgrounds ready to open, as well as continuing construction on a trail in Centennial Park.

“We’re busy getting ready for the summer onslaught of tourists and fishermen,” he said.

The trail in Centennial Park is not the only new thing this year. For the first time, Soldotna’s campgrounds will be equipped to accept credit card payments at their front gates, Dixson said during a budget work session before the meeting.

“We want to switch over to the credit cards because, most people, that’s how they pay these things,” he said in a later phone interview.

Dixson said during the meeting that city staff currently spend a lot of time counting physical cash. Someone has to count it at the gate, then it gets picked up from the campgrounds and counted again at the city before it can be put on the books. Dixson called the process “extremely time-intensive.”

“Credit cards will be a lot easier as far as processing it at the gate and integrating it into our financial programs,” he said.

Though the campgrounds haven’t opened quite yet, residents are already chomping at the bit, Dixson said.

“People are using them already,” he said, and have been throughout the winter.

Even with the gates closed, Dixson said there has been an increase in people parking at the gates and using the grounds for walking, running and walking their dogs during the off season.

Reach Megan Pacer at megan.pacer@peninsulaclarion.com.

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