City pursuing special funding for military-serving communities

The City of Kodiak may have found a little more federal money to help fund its recreation programs and fire and EMT departments. But there are some strings attached.

The DCIP was enacted to support communities with military installations, but the question remains: is Air Station Kodiak a military installation?

The federal program is called The Defense Community Infrastructure Pilot Program, or DCIP. The DCIP was enacted as part of the National Defense Authorization Act in 2019, and set aside $75 million dollars in 2020 to invest in local infrastructure, such as recreation and emergency services, near military instillations that support service members and their families.

The Kodiak City Council discussed the potential to tap into this program’s fund at this week’s work session, as City Manager Mike Tvenge explained.

“Recreation seems to be a benefit. And if we’re eligible we definitely have a Coast Guard presence in our recreation facilities, through soccer, baseball, and football programs. We have a Coast Guard hockey team that plays here. And their families, not just active duty Coast Guard.”

While federal aid to back city infrastructure that in turn supports military service members and their families such as at the Coast Guard and Navy SEAL bases in Kodiak sounds appealing, there’s a catch: is the Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak considered a military installation in the DCIP?

City Manager Tvenge: “We’re not sure if the Coast Guard fits that criteria. The Coast Guard is under Homeland Security and not under the Department of Defense. We’re going to find out more about that.”

In 2020, the DCIP funded proposals such as $10 million to Gre

Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan may hold the key to DCIP funding for Kodiak. Photo from video grab posted on Sullivan’s YouTube feed.

at Falls, Montana, for supporting Malmstrom Air Force Base, for a new recreation center.

And while the DCIP does require matching funding for any project, for rural areas, no match is needed. To the City, then, pursuing this funding is a no-brainer.

“We would be eligible for the full amount if we were to be included.”

Another catch is that the DCIP is invitation-only, which would require the city to appeal to Alaska’s congressional delegation to get on that invite list. City Mayor Pat Branson is optimistic.

“We’ve established very good relationships with that delegation, especially with Senator (Dan) Sullivan. I would like to go forward with this and not just have staff do this, but I want to place a call to Sullivan directly to find out how we can get invited and get his suggestions on getting our foot in the door to apply for this.”

The Council expects the deadline to apply for DCIP funding this June, with funding possibly being available in December this year.

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