Information on Soldotna...
As I have posted in several other threads, the family and I are considering the move to AK in the very near future. We are looking to move to the Soldotna area if possible and would love to have your feedback about this city and the surrounding area. Pros, Cons, Does, Donts, Job Market, Housing Market, What to expect, etc... any and all information would be appreciated.
Thanks in Advance!
We don't allow people from Texas or Tennassee in Soldotna. Sorry.
Soldotna is a great area. Lots of outdoor stuff readily available. We have all the big box stores in addition to some great small town shops, so pretty much all your shopping needs are fullfilled right here. While the city claims about 5,000 residents, the surrounding residential region, the twin city of Kenai, and the communities of Nikiski, Sterling, and Kasilof all bring the area's population to over 25,000. So there are actually a lot of people in this area.
Traffic is easy except in July when you'll be sharing the town with nearly 1,000,000 visitors from afar. Unless you're involved in the tourist trades, locals tend to take their own vacations around that time.
As for housing, I'd highly recommed looking outside the city, unless you absolutely want to be on a public water and sewer system and pay the high city property taxes that go along with it. Well and septic in the residential areas are the norm, but you can buy privacy, a measurable chunk of land, and still have all the "modern convenience" you need.
There is always a bunch of stuff on the housing market. You MUST visit the property you intend to buy, and I'd highly recommend that visit occurs in late April or early May. You will be able to see what kind of drainage problems there are during the snow melt, or "break up" as we call it.
The job market is fairly wide, even if it isn't really deep. What trades are you looking for? We've got a little of everything here; oil industry, contruction, retail, shipping, lots of schools, major hospital, tourism, borough and city governments, etc.
I can answer more specific questions if you've got 'em.
Well that figures... We would pick the one place in AK that want let us live there. Just Kidding!
I appreciate your response and your willing to to answer our questions. I have tons of them but will try to take it slow so we do not blow up this forum. We have friends who recently (last 9 months) purchased a cabin their close to Soldotna. They travel up 3-4 times per year for fishing and just to get away from TN. I've been talking to the Realtor, Ed Oberts, who helped them with their cabin purchase. He seems to know most people in the area and has been very informative thus far.
As for my line of work, I am a licensed insurance agent with 12 years of experience in Sales, Service, Auditing, Business Analytics and Project Management with the large agency/brokerage here in TN. I currently manage a team of 15 Client Service Representatives and a team of 7 Auditors. I am looking for similar work in the Management, Insurance, or Information Technology fields if possible but am open to other options as well. Would greatly appreciate any leads you might have for those fields in the area.
As for Soldotna itself, what's the weather there like? What is the average temp and snowfall in winter? What months does winter generally run? Likewise, what's the average temp and rainfall in summer? Which months does spring and summer run?
Ed Oberts is a good guy, even though he's also into politics.
I know nothing of the insurance market, but there are quite a few places that you'll want to check into. A number of insurance agencies around and then there is probably parallel stuff in the gov't side. I'd recommend you google up the companies that do your kind of work in the yellow pages and also keep a sharp eye on the job sites.
As for weather... June 1st is the "official" date when it is safe to plant your garden. Memorial weekend generally hails the beginning of the summer season. June, July, and August is all you get for "summer" months. We border the ocean, so we get our fair share of rain, and the temps are pretty mild. A nice sunny day might push close to 70°F in the "heat" of the afternoon. You'll wear a jacket every day for the first summer you're up here.
Our Fall season comes on pretty quickly in September and within a couple weeks the trees will go from green to yellow to barren. We usually have the first snowfall before Halloween, though we rarely have "permanent" snow on the ground until Thanksgiving or even the beginning of December. The "average" winter temps will range between about 10° to 25°F, but we always get a couple cold snaps that will push down to -20°F for a week or two. That is usually in between Christmas and President's Day. Then we get the majority of our snowfall from February through the end of March. April can go either way, but it will be on a warming trend with some outstanding snowmobiling weather to end the season.
May is hard core breakup. Standing water everywhere. Lots of mud. The frozen ground doesn't let the melting snow leave fast enough. The severity of the winter dictates how bad break up will be. Once the snow is gone, things warm up and dry out pretty quickly. So quickly that we have a sudden onset of high wild fire danger throughout June.
Living in Soldotna
JOAT has nailed it down exceptionally well so far.I've only lived in Soldotna for 6 years whereas JOAT has been here for 30,but I may be able to add a bit .
Weather:a lot more snow than Tennesee,rain isn't too bad,but I came up here from the coast of Washington (150+ inches a year)We get about 35" in Soldotna.JOAT is spot on about the duration of winter.Summer makes the winter seem like nothing .It is stunningly beautiful here in the summer.
July:lots and lots of tourists are a big thing in July.You can avoid them if you feel the need.Just don't go to a store after noon.Most of em sleep in.Remember they are on vacation.Just make your plans accordingly.
Jobs:your not going to find a lot in the local newspapers.Go to Alaska's workforce website and search through there,you will find a lot more listings and you can search by area making it much easier to narrow down where you choose to be .
Living in town:as JOAT said there are a lot of places in and outside of town available.That choice is up to you.Seems to me most folk up here like some breathing room from thier neighbors.There are many places you can get a few acres,a nice house and have a buffer from others.Be wary of any listing that says "remote".Alaskan remote ain't like Tennessee remote.
If you like a small town,the friendlyness you can find there,not having to worry about gangs and other big city woes,Soldotna is a great place.Might be an idea to come check it out before moving though,if that option is available to you.Try it you'll probably like it.
Last edited by Mark Collett; 02-15-2011 at 14:50.
Reason: spelling was terrible