Adding Park Amenities

With the support of NSAA and the Anchorage District Soccer Federation, the nonprofit Kincaid Project Group (KPG) was formed to “create world-class, year-round recreational opportunities at Kincaid Park for the benefit of Anchorage and the greater Alaskan community.”

Massive Community Effort

The first step in the process involved working with the community–including the competitive ski community–to develop a master plan. Adams remembers looking around the room in one meeting and counting more than a dozen Olympic athletes, providing direction that would match the dreams that many had created through competition on Olympic and World Cup venues throughout the world.

Through this initiative, KPG developed a five-phase plan to encompass $11 million of improvements:

Phase I–Biathlon range improvements

Phase II–Irrigation/snowmaking to serve sports-field and winter-trail needs

Phase III–Grading for eight soccer fields and a trail to serve summer ski/biathlete training

Phase IV–Finishing fields with seeding/turf

Phase V–Paving of a 5-kilometer ski trail for summer dry-land training and an artificial-turf stadium.

KPG proposed a joint public and private project, funded by federal, state, municipal, corporate, and private sources, and set out to raise the money. One-million dollars of the project was immediately funded by ConocoPhillips–an energy corporation–while a fundraising campaign generated $3.5 million from the state.

The project was also awarded a Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant.

Countless community members and local companies donated money and time to the project.

“It never would have happened without massive community effort,” says Morgenthaler. “People contributed because they saw it was such a good idea.”

Supporting Olympians

The improvements kicked off with the relocation of the biathlon range. The old range was exposed to the wind, had bad sun angles, and was not connected to the existing trail system. The new location is protected from winds, is oriented so the sun is to the back of shooters, has better access to parking, and easily connects to the trail system.

It also features the state-of-the-art HoRa target system, which is used in World Cup and Olympic competition. Mize considers it “one of the nicest biathlon ranges in the country.”

KPG plans to add a paved 2.3-kilometer trail located within the existing main Kincaid Chalet development area; .5 kilometer of this trail currently exists within the biathlon range area. A second trail would be approximately 5 kilometers.

Paved trails will allow athletes to train during the summer on roller skis, and will be particularly suited for use by disabled athletes training for summer and winter Special Olympics.

“World-class facilities are one of the most important parts of developing future Olympians and supporting our current Olympians. The Kincaid project is an essential building block in creating Alaskan champions,” says Lars Flora, a 2002 and 2006 Olympic cross-country skier.

Mize agrees, and says that “the trails are perfect for the beginner of all ages to the Olympic athlete. The Kincaid trails are known worldwide, and were the first to be approved by the International Ski Federation for National, International, and World Cup competition.”

Still to be completed is the long-awaited snowmaking system. The construction for infrastructure is complete, and the inaugural snowmaking will be in May 2012. As the paved trails are developed, snowmaking will be in place for the other athletes as well.

Setting Sites On Soccer

Seven natural-grass soccer fields were completed in the summer of 2010, and a new artificial-turf field and stadium, christened the “ConocoPhillips Soccer Stadium,” which will hold 2000+ people, will be completed during the summer of 2012. The stadium will be used not only during summer soccer, but also during the high-school soccer season in the summer.

Because the field development displaced several holes on the existing disc-golf course, a more scenic and topographically challenging course was completed in summer of 2008. Adams considers it “one of the best disc-golf courses in the nation, with spectacular views and great long fairways to play down.”

In addition to recreational opportunities, the completed projects also offer revenue opportunities to the city. According to a July 2006 estimate by the Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau, the economic benefits Anchorage could expect when hosting the State Cup soccer tournament would be approximately $470,000, and a 4,000+ participation, seven-day soccer or ski event would generate approximately $7.4 million. A World Cup or Junior Olympic ski event would generate approximately $1 million.

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