Soldotna Downtown Improvement Plan approved

Downtown Soldotna is poised to be home to new signage, in addition to other changes.

The Soldotna City Council voted unanimously at its Wednesday meeting to enact a resolution adopting the City of Soldotna Downtown Improvement Plan. The plan includes phases of physical changes and policy changes, including updated signs in and around the city.

“It was June 2014 when we made the request for the downtown monies to be part of the (fiscal year 2015) capital budget, and so we’ve had this money, we’ve been working on the plan since then,” said Director of Economic Planning and Development Stephanie Queen during the meeting.

Queen said before the vote that once the resolution was passed and the plan adopted, the city is poised to go out to bid on some aspects of the plan, including three highway gateway signs that would greet motorists as they entered Soldotna. Two are planned to be located on the Sterling Highway, and one on the Kenai Spur Highway.

“If you’re in a different city for the first time, there’s lots of tools and things to help you get to where you need to go,” Queen said in reference to improved signage in the city.

To bring the city into compliance since an initiative to remove the year-round grocery tax in Soldotna passed in the October election, the council also approved an ordinance amending city code where it concerns the sales tax exemption on nonprepared food items.

During the meeting, council member Tim Cashman asked for clarification on the definition of a nonprepared food item. City Manager Mark Dixson said the Kenai Peninsula Borough uses the same definition as the one applied to federal food stamps.

“And so if you can buy the product with food stamps it’s not taxable,” Dixson said.

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