On time and under budget: Those are words citizens like to hear when it comes to capital projects.
In Alaska’s short construction season, “on time” can sometimes be a challenge. For 2013 city of Homer projects, though, an above-average sunny and warm summer and fall allowed contractors to work into this week. Projects are done or mostly complete, with no projects running over budget.
“It was a beautiful construction year and the construction season lasted longer than normal,” said Homer Public Works Director Carey Meyer.
From Skyline Drive in the Homer hills to the end of the Homer Spit, projects spanned from the north and south borders of the city limits. On Skyline Drive, the city had demolished an old redwood water storage tank, while at the end of the road, the city had built new public restrooms and paved what will be the End of the Road Park.
Projects ranged from $75,000 for pedestrian safety improvements in Old Town to $12.7 million for the Homer Natural Gas Distribution System. The weather has been so good for Enstar contractor United Technologies that it will work ahead into next season by extending the distribution line to the Homer Spit, Meyer said.
“That reflects the kind of year we had on all the projects,” he said of UTI. “They did what they promised to do. They were able as well to push it into next year’s promise.”
Not including the gas line, projects totaled almost $8 million, much of that paid for with $6 million in cruise ship passenger vessel tax revenues received for Homer.
According to the city’s analysis, taxpayers paid for 12 percent of the cost of projects, mostly through the Homer Accelerated Road and Trail and Homer Accelerated Water and Sewer fund programs, with the rest paid for in cruise ship tax revenues and state and federal grants.
A lot of the big projects are on the Spit, including $2.3 million for Deep Water Dock fenders and a $1.1 million Spit Trail extension. The trail extension includes building a trail around the Deep Water Dock side of the harbor to the main harbor area and connecting it to the current end of the trail at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon. Groundwork has been done for much of that, and when done the trail will go to the End of the Road Park. A side extension will connect to Coal Point Park at the harbor entrance.
Amenities include benches, trash cans, viewing platforms, 1-percent for art work, bicycle racks, signs and banners. Meyer said 26 posts with banners will be installed with flags for the nautical alphabet and plaques explaining the flags.
“There’s a lot of other stuff that I think will change the way people look at the harbor,” Meyer said. “It will be much more accessible from a pedestrian perspective all the way around it.”
City of Homer Projects 2012-13
• Harbor Entrance/ Spit Trail Shore Protection
What: Protects the entrance to the Homer Harbor and a new Spit trail extension from Coal Point Park to the Pioneer Dock area.
Status: Rip-rap installed and 100-percent complete
Funding: Cruise Ship Passenger Vessel tax revenue, $910,000
• End of Road Park restrooms and paving
What: Construction of public restrooms at End of the Road Park at the end of the Homer Spit and paving of a parking lot.
Status: Near completion. One restroom will be open this winter.
To do: Landscaping and installation of 1-percent for art, parking lot paving.
Funding: Cruise Ship Passenger Vessel tax revenue, $554,000
• Deep Water Dock Cruise ship staging area and restrooms
What: Construction of public restrooms, a guard shack, waiting shelter and paving
Status: Near completion. One restroom will be open this winter.
To do: Installation of 1-percent for art, parking lot paving.
Funding: Cruise Ship Passenger Vessel tax revenue, $708,000
• Deep Water Dock Fender Replacement
What: Installation of heavy-duty fenders and floating camels, or bumpers, at the face of the Deep Water Dock to provide better protection for large vessels, including cruise ships.
Funding: Cruise Ship Passenger Vessel tax revenue, $2.3 million
• Spit Trail Extension
What: Extension of the Homer Spit Trail from from the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon to the end of the Spit at End of the Road Park, around the harbor basin and along the harbor entrance. The trail will go along the harbor to Fish Dock Road, up to the Homer Spit Road and to the End of the Road Park. A spur will go from the Pioneer Dock along the harbor mouth to Coal Point Park.
Status: Trail has been prepared for paving next spring.
To do: Pave the trail and install benches, lookouts, bicycle racks, trash cans, directional and interpretive signs, banners and 1-percent for art.
Funding: Cruise Ship Passenger Vessel tax revenue; $1.1 million; the Homer Cycling Club purchased two bicycle racks with the city purchasing others.
• Spit Trail Boardwalk Replacement Project
What: Widen and replace the Homer Harbor boardwalk.
Status: Near completion, with installation of handrails to be done.
Funding: Cruise Ship Passenger Vessel tax revenue; $171,000
• Electrical Upgrades for Large Vessels (System 5 at Homer Harbor)
What: Install 16 new 208-volt and 480-volt power pedestals and provide year-round water for large vessels
Status: Construction started this fall, to be completed by spring.
Funding: Harbor Facilities Grant, $971,000
• Downtown Restrooms
What: Install two new public restroom buildings on Pioneer Avenue at WKFL Park on Heath Street and at the west end of Pioneer Avenue across from Bartlett Street.
Status: Near completion. One restroom in each building will be open this winter.
To do: Landscaping and installation of 1-percent for art parking lot paving.
Funding: Cruise Ship Passenger Vessel tax revenue; $394,000
• Karen Hornaday Park Pavilion
What: Build a new picnic shelter with a fire circle and benches.
Status: Near completion.
Funding: State of Alaska Legislative Grant, $140,000; bench and fire pit sponsored by Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary Club and a private donor.
• Old Town Pedestrian Safety Improvements
What: Traffic calming and pedestrian improvements, including widening East Bunnell Avenue between Main Street and Beluga Place, restriping East Bunnell Avenue and Beluga Place, adding traffic signs and paving the Bishop’s Beach parking lot
Status: Near completion
To be done: Striping at Bishop’s Beach.
Funding: Homer Area Roads and Trails, or HART, fund, $75,000
• Redwood Tank Demolition
What: Removal of the 40-year-old water tank
Funding: Water Reserve Fund, $114,000
• Sewer Treatment Plant Headworks Intake Screen Replacement
What: Replace an intake screen at the Sewage Treatment Plant to keep items from entering plant
Status: To be done in December
Funding: Sewer Reserve Fund, $150,000
• City Street Repaving
What: Repaving of Soundview Avenue, Fish Dock Road, Ice Dock Road, Smokey Bay Way, Klondike Avenue, West Fairview Avenue, Town Heights Lane, Greatland street and FAA Drive.
Funding: Homer Accelerated Roads and Trails, $690,000
• Crittenden/Waddell Road
What: Road and drainage improvements and paving Crittenden Street and Waddell Road up to urban standards.
Funding: property owners through a special assessment district and Homer Accelerated Roads and Trails, $625,000 (75 percent HART, 25-percent property owners)