Fireworks

A firework bursts above a bonfire at Mill Bay Beach just after midnight on Jan. 1, 2014. (James Brooks photo)

The Kodiak Island Borough assembly will consider modifying the fireworks laws to ban fireworks at two beaches close to town that get many complaints, officials said.

A resident said during an assembly meeting that the problem gets worse each year and the fireworks are “out of control” at Mill Bay Beach. She said she has nothing against fireworks and doesn’t want them banned altogether, but believes Mill Bay Beach is too close to too many residences for the level of noise late at night that she has experienced with fireworks.

“I think we all know that Mill Bay Beach is a pretty popular site,” said borough manager Bud Cassidy. “It’s close by the location where fireworks are sold.”

Signs at Mill Bay Beach ask firework enthusiasts to be considerate of people living nearby, and Cassidy said the borough’s code enforcement officer and Alaska State Troopers occasionally stop by when there are complaints, but complaints by people in the area still persist.

Les Seaton, who owns Les n’ Dan’s firework stand with his brother, attended the meeting and said, “I preach like an evangelist,” to purchasers encouraging them to take their fireworks out the road and away from residences.

“If you had to take a spot off the map to don’t do it, I think Mill Bay Beach has just about approached that,” Seaton said.

Borough staff will be drafting language for a fireworks ordinance to ban fireworks completely at Mill Bay and Mission beaches for assembly consideration.

The assembly also discussed the possibility of lengthening the time frame when people are allowed to shoot off fireworks in hopes of keeping people from shooting off too many fireworks in the month or few days and time periods they are allowed.

Some members of the assembly also expressed concern that banning fireworks close to town will result in the problem just moving further out of town to the Monashka area or Bells Flats and causing problems with residents there.

The fireworks issue will be brought up on a future assembly agenda in the near future, said Mayor Jerrol Friend.

The assembly also got an update on the Kodiak High School renovation project by contract project manager Bruce Walter.

Walter said five of the nine phases of the project have been completed during the past two years.

Those phases are the paving of the upper Mill Bay parking lot, gym renovation, basement locker room and weight and cardio rooms, a new boiler plant, the new four-story “tower,” and the new west parking lot.

According to the contractor’s schedule, phase six is on schedule, Walter said, and it will be completed by Oct. 1.

“That’s the portion that you can see as you’re driving past on Rezanof,” Walter said. “Area B houses the administration services, the new dining room, kitchen, culinary arts and special needs classrooms.”

Phase seven, the vocational education wing, will begin when school gets out and should be done by Aug. 1.

Walter also went over change orders that have been issued and how much money is left in the contingency fund for the project. Out of $3 million, $863,132 has been used so far leaving more than $2 million left in contingency funds.

The borough assembly also received an update from project manager Matt Gandel about the barren ground next to Rezanof Drive, below the long-term care facility.

In order to “make it look like a bomb didn’t go off,” Gandel said, the stumps will be cut off at ground level so the roots will remain to keep the ground stable.

Topsoil will be brought in and the area will be hydro-seeded with grass and wildflowers.

Landscaping is the final part of the long-term facility project, and should be completed this spring.

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