Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 5:23 PM on Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Road repairs top priorities for southern peninsula commmunities

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer

Repairs for two roads lead legislative priority lists in two communities on the southern peninsula:

• Basargin Road, a gravel road from East End Road to the village of Razdolna that is a little more than six miles long with more than five miles maintained by the Kenai Peninsula Borough, $3.2 million;

• Greer Road, a 6,300-foot gravel road off East End Road, the top 1,600 feet of which is borough-maintained, $4 million.

The borough recently entered into a $32,301 contract with Paul's Services to dig out some of the worst mud boils on Basargin Road, something for which that road is famous, according to Doug Schoessler, director of the borough's road services areas.

"That road has some real issues. If they want to put it in for a legislative priority, that's awesome," said Schoessler. "If they can get it preference with the Legislature and get some capital dollars, we're all for it and say 'Right on. Let's do it.'"

Basargin Road is used by Caribou Lake cabin-owners and outdoor recreationists headed for the southern peninsula's backcountry. Members of Snomads, a local snowmachine club, also use Basargin Road to access Willard Road, another access route to the backcountry.

Upgrades to Willard Road were just completed by the club for half of the $180,l000 capital projects funding the club was awarded through the Kenai Peninsula Borough, according to club president, Steve Purizek. However, the condition of Basargin Road caused the Willard Road project to come to a standstill at one point when equipment had to be stopped until a load of gravel could be brought in to fix some of the holes.

Mostly, however, Basargin Road is used by residents of the village of Razdolna.

"I'd like to see Basargin Road improved for the sake of (Razdolna residents) as well as ours," said Purizek, adding, "The bottom line is, how can you have a good community without a road to it?"

The amount of money needed to fix the road poses a challenge, according to Mako Haggerty, who represents the southern peninsula, with the exception of the city of Homer, on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly.

"It's not a challenge the people will back away from, but a challenge that requires an all-out effort to get that road up to the standard that people need out there so people can rely on it year-round," said Haggerty.

This is not the first time Fritz Creek residents have voted Greer Road improvements as one of their priorities. Last year the Legislature included funding for repairs to the road, but it fell victim to Gov. Sean Parnell's veto pen, according to Haggerty.

"There's some real issues at the top of Greer Road," said Haggerty.

"It's just liquid and falling apart. It's a poorly built road."

Projects for the priority list were suggested at community meetings held Oct. 8 in Anchor Point and at McNeil Canyon Elementary School for the communities of Fox River (including Kachemak Selo, Razdolna and Voznesenka) and Fritz Creek. The first and second priorities were chosen by a show of hands by those attending the meetings. In Anchor Point, 37 residents attended, the Fox River meeting had 19 people attending, and there were 14 residents at the Fritz Creek meeting. The priorities as voted on were:

• Anchor Point, first priority: library improvements, $400,000;

• Anchor Point, second priority: senior center improvements, $250,000;

• Fox River, first priority: Basargin Road improvements, $3.2 million;

• Fox River, second priority: Voznesenka football field, $200,000;

• Fritz Creek, first priority: Kachemak Bay Cross Country Ski Club and Snomads to share a groomer, $150,000;

• Fritz Creek, second priority: Greer Road improvements, $4 million.

Communities now have until Nov. 11 to provide the Borough Clerk's office with details for each project before the community priority lists are presented to the borough assembly at its Dec. 6 meeting.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.jackinsky@homernews.com.