Baranof Park Recreation Center overhaul moving forward with final fundraising hurdle

The City of Kodiak is in the final process of collecting bids for a planned overhaul of the Baranof Park Recreation Center – and the project contract could be awarded as early as this month, but the $3.8 million development faces a final fundraising hurdle.

Plans for the future of Baranof Park include 4,500 square feet of new building; the existing outdoor ice rink will be enclosed, and there will be a covered walking track. There will also be new bathrooms and changing rooms.

And so far, 162 donors – including local businesses – have chipped in contributions for the planned expansion. 

“The community has been very generous,” said Corey Gronn, the director of Kodiak’s Parks and Recreation Department. 

He said the multi-use nature of the development has galvanized community support.

“I think some folks will always see this as an ice rink, but we want it to be a true rec center for people of all ages,” said Gronn.

The volunteer group Friends of Baranof Park has been raising funds on behalf of the city, but it’s still $400,000 shy of its $3.8 million goal for the project.

The City of Kodiak allocated $800,000 for the Baranof Park overhaul, according to the group, and at a recent Kodiak Island Borough work session, Assembly members discussed a formal request from Friends of Baranof Park to chip in $50,000 in funding. Assembly members said they couldn’t approve anything until they saw final construction bids, and there was also discussion about how infrastructure and pandemic relief money might be used for similar projects. Borough Mayor Bill Roberts said that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing for the future of Baranof Park.

“I don’t think you heard anything negative from this Assembly, I think we are on a little bit of a wait-hold,” said Roberts.

Meanwhile, Gronn said the current funding shortfall shouldn’t hold up plans for construction, and that Parks and Rec is still eyeing a late summer ground-breaking for the project.

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