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Soldotna is a city in the Kenai Peninsula Borough, Alaska, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 4,163. It is the seat of the Kenai Peninsula Borough.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,759 people, 1,465 households, and 969 families residing in the city. As of 2008, the population was close to 4,200. The population density was 541.9 people per square mile (209.1/km²). There were 1,670 housing units at an average density of 240.7 per square mile (92.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 88.06% White, 0.29% Black or African American, 4.97% Native American, 1.73% Asian, 0.37% Pacific Islander, 1.28% from other races, and 3.30% from two or more races. 3.22% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 1,465 households out of which 39.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.5% were married couples living together, 13.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.8% were non-families. 29.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.13.
In the city the age distribution of the population shows 31.5% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 27.9% from 25 to 44, 23.3% from 45 to 64, and 9.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 90.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $48,420, and the median income for a family was $52,372. Males had a median income of $43,162 versus $24,598 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,740. About 5.8% of families and 6.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.5% of those under age 18 and 2.6% of those age 65 or over.
There are three public elementary schools: Soldotna Elementary, Redoubt Elementary, and a charter school, Soldotna Montessori Charter School. Soldotna Middle School (7-8) and River City Academy (7-12) cover middle school. Skyview and Soldotna High School (So-Hi) are the local high schools. Cook Inlet Academy is a private Christian K-12 school.
Kenai Peninsula College (KPC) is located in the southwestern corner of city limits. A unit of the University of Alaska Anchorage, KPC in turn administers the Kachemak Bay Campus in Homer.
Soldotna is located at 60°29′12″N 151°4′31″W (60.486617, −151.075373).
Soldotna is located on the banks of the Kenai River on the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska. It is named after nearby Soldotna Creek. There are multiple theories explaining the origin of the word “Soldotna”.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.4 square miles (19 km2), of which 6.9 square miles (18 km2) of it is land and 0.5 square miles (1.3 km2) of it (6.34%) is water.
As with much of Southcentral Alaska, Soldotna has a moderate subarctic climate (Köppen Dfc) due to the cool summers, though the diurnal temperature variation is larger than most locations in the region. Winters are snowy, long but not particularly cold, especially considering the latitude, with January featuring a daily average temperature of 13.4 °F (−10.3 °C). There are 46 nights of sub-0 °F (−18 °C) lows annually, and the area lies in USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 4, indicating an average annual minimum in the −20 to −30 °F (−29 to −34 °C) range. Summers are cool due to the marine influence, with 12 days of 70 °F (21 °C)+ highs annually.
The Sterling Highway runs through and connects the eastern and central portions of the city. Its intersection with the Kenai Spur Highway, known as the “Soldotna Y” due to its former configuration as a Y-shaped intersection, is a local landmark. The Kenai Spur Highway connects neighborhoods in the north-central portion of the city to other parts of Soldotna, adjoining Ridgeway and beyond to Kenai and Nikiski.
The western portions of Soldotna are connected by local roads (east of the Kenai River) and Kalifornsky Beach Road (west of the river). “K-Beach” Road, as it is often known, also provides access to the southernmost portions of the city (including Kenai Peninsula College and the Soldotna Sports Center), and an alternate access to Kenai via the Warren Ames Memorial Bridge. K-Beach continues east beyond the Sterling Highway to access Soldotna Airport (see below) and Funny River.
Facilities and other attractions for visitors in and around Soldotna include: camping, fishing, a rodeo grounds, baseball fields, golf courses, hiking, berry picking and the Soldotna Historical Society Museum.
The Soldotna Sports Center, when not serving as an event venue, is available for recreational ice skating, volleyball, and racquetball.
Most of the attractions for fishing are right in the middle of Soldotna on the Kenai River.
Les Anderson, at the time the owner of Soldotna’s Ford dealership, holds the record for the largest king salmon, caught here on May 17, 1985 and weighing in at 97 lb 4 oz. The record-setting fish is on display at the Soldotna Visitor Center.