The City of Soldotna is in a healthy financial position, has a stable tax structure, and a sustainable fund balance that allows the municipality to continue to invest in high-quality infrastructure and economic development. Soldotna is forward-thinking, strategic, and City staff know how to partner with the private sector and local organizations to get things done. Examples of programs that were developed to support local entrepreneurs and business owners, include:
- A storefront improvement program, which has provided municipal matching grant funds to local businesses for façade improvements, since 2012;
- A series of phased downtown improvements, including right-of-way landscaping and beautification, gateway signage, and park improvements and event programming;
- Coordinating and participating in Alaska Startup Week.
Soldotna is big on health care, with 60% of all gross sales in that industry, borough-wide. Anchoring this industry is Central Peninsula Hospital, an acute care hospital with 49 beds, located in the heart of Soldotna’s growing health care district. CPH employs more than 80 physicians and allied medical staff, and operates several facilities including a 60-bed long-term skilled nursing facility, and nine family and specialty services clinics. Recent growth in this area continues, as private practitioners are choosing to locate close to this dense concentration of health care providers.
K-12 and post-secondary education are also big in Soldotna. About one-third (31%) of all K-12 students in the borough attend a school in Soldotna. Kenai Peninsula College, with its Kenai River Campus in Soldotna as well as Kachemak Bay campus in Homer and extension site in Seward – serves approximately 2,880 students each semester and delivers more than 15,000 credit hours of instruction. KPC provides certificates and degrees to students in high-demand fields, including process technology and instrumentation, nursing, and education.
Soldotna also ranks #1 in retail sales, which peak during the busy summer tourism months, but are also sustained by a healthy year-round economy.
An economic development strategy wouldn’t be complete without a high quality of life – in Soldotna that means over 450 acres of parks and over 50 miles of trails, bike lanes and riverfront boardwalks, year-round outdoor live music at Soldotna’s river-front park, including Alaska’s only outdoor winter beer festival, restaurants/bars, safe neighborhoods that are family-friendly, and a community where people know each other.