The Kodiak City Council chose Tuesday not to revisit an airport safety project before it is scheduled to finish construction, giving the go-ahead to cut off a footpath connecting the end of Larch Street and Mill Bay Road.
“I don’t think we should stop the fence from going up,” council member Tom Walters said at the work session. “There’s changes that can be made that don’t have anything to do with the fencing. Otherwise that’s going to cost us money to stop.”
Natasha Zahn Pristas, who spoke in favor of maintaining the pathway, said one positive thing that came out of the meeting is the council discussed alternatives to the footpath to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists.
“They also have valid concerns,” she said. “It’s hard to argue with safety.”
The alternatives discussed by the council included connecting a walkway from the end of Larch Street with Selief Court. Private property issues in the area would need to be cleared up before this solution could be exercised.
The city council also discussed a trail around the other end of Lilly Lake that would connect to Mill Bay Road.
“An alternative route to take people out to Selief Lane, with or without an additional crossing to the south of the Lake — those would definitely improve all safety issues and reduce risk at (the municipal airport),” city public works director Mark Kozak said.
The safety concerns were brought out by Walters, who said floatplanes taking off may need to use the air space of the municipal airport runway if they are flying heavily loaded.
“You might be knocking a kid’s head off as you’re taking off across there,” Walters said. “That’s always been a potential because if a plane had maneuvered and stalled you’d run right into King’s Diner.”
Ted Hansen also addressed the city council, discouraging the continued use of the footpath for private property reasons. Hansen identified himself as an airport user and the person who does the accounting for the Lilly Lake homeowner’s association.
“Anyone who is using that path has to walk down the stairs of the Lilly Lake homeowner’s association and traverse two of their private properties, including Ocean Beauty’s private property,” Hansen said.
He said the Lilly Lake board of directors may themselves choose to fence off their property and post “no trespassing” signs.
“I understand that the trail has been in use since Larch Street was pushed through, but it’s going across three people’s private property and I think that’s a problem. That’s trespass whether it’s being used or not.”
The city manager and public works staff were instructed to bring possible pathway solutions to the council in the future.
“I think that one of the sad things about this is we haven’t considered the path user at all,” city council member Charlie Davidson said. “When you look at the long distance they have to go, I would hope that we could expedite looking at this pathway.”