On City Corner this week, a look at a place that might become a park. Our guest is first time City Council member Naim Shabani, who spoke with us from the Kasayuli Subdivision last Thursday. We were joined by former Councilwoman Beverly Hoffman.
“So, Naim Shabani is on City Council and he’s introduced an Action Memorandum for a possible park,” said Hoffman, addressing Kasayuli resident Andrew Yatchmenoff and his family.
“What would you guys like to see in a park here?”
“Swings, and then, like, something on the ground so it’d be nice and soft because we have these little ones as well, and then maybe something, like, for the older ones to play, like, basketball and stuff as well,” said Yatchmenoff. “That’d be really good, I think.”
“That’s certainly been discussed as the plan going forward,” said Naim Shabani.
Hoffman serves on the Parks & Recreation Committee, and her family has been in Bethel a long time. She knows the importance of imparting legacy here through strong leadership.
“City Council takes a lot of time from people's lives, and you don’t get paid for it, and you have to read so much and spend so many hours, not just sitting on a committee. What committee do you sit on?” asked Hoffman.
“I’m on the Public Safety Transportation Commission, as well as a industry representative – obviously with the cab company – and then I’m appointed to Public Works as a Council Representative, and then Council,” said Shabani.
“I like this town, you know. It’s worked for me for many years, and I really wanna give something back,” said Shabani. “I felt this was a good way to do that.”
Shabani refers to the Action Memorandum that passed at the June 27 City Council meeting with a unanimous vote. Shabani said that the Kasayuli Subdivision is about four and a half miles from the closest park, which is why he suggested creating a park as part of the subdivision.
“Over the last decade the neighborhood has dramatically increased in population, where I think a park out here could be justified at this time,” said Shabani.
According to Hoffman, the land Kasayuli sits on was a Native allotment that was bought by the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation and initially intended as housing for YKHC workers. Over time, though, more and more locals moved into the subdivision to build their own homes.
“It will continue to grow as Bethel grows,” said Hoffman, “and Bethel definitely will continue to grow.”
They’ve already looked into a number of potential funding opportunities with City Grant Manager John Sargent, and potential park locations with City Planning Director Ted Meyer.
“It’s at the very early stages, but it certainly looks promising and hopeful. I certainly am gonna do everything I can to see this through,” said Shabani.
The Parks and Recreation Committee will meet tonight [Monday] at 6:00 p.m. in City Hall to review and discuss the park for the first time.
Hear our full discussion today at 11 a.m., and again tonight at 9 p.m. on City Corner. We’ll be discussing possible plans for a new park, and what it’s like to be a new Bethel City Council member.
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