Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 4:18 PM on Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Council approves load and launch ramp agreement



BY MICHAEL ARMSTRONG
STAFF WRITER

After Harbormaster Bryan Hawkins delivered a brief report on last year's progress at the Homer Harbor, the Homer City Council gave him a new item to start off his 2012 list. It passed a resolution approving an agreement with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game for the state agency to repair, replace and rehabilitate the load and launch ramp.

That agreement gives Fish and Game the responsibility to fix the load and launch ramp, a $3.5 million project. Most of that will be paid out of federal Sport Fish Restoration Act funds. Phase 1, the design and permitting phase, will be done by December, with Fish and Game managing the project.

Hawkins read through the highlights of harbor activities last year, illustrating his points with a slide presentation on the Ralph Cowles Council Chambers new video screens — part of the remodel of Homer City Hall. Major accomplishments included removal of three more derelict boats and receiving the first Alaska Clean Harbor designation.

"We can be quite proud of the accomplishments," said Homer Mayor James Hornaday. He said he remembered what the harbor looked like after the 1964 earthquake, and the current harbor doesn't look anything like it did then.

Council member Kevin Hogan noted repairs being done at the Fish Dock, including refurbishing cranes.

"Every day you go out there, they're improving stuff, fixing stuff," Hogan said of harbor officers and maintenance workers.

The council also showed its support for the Homer Playground Project, or HoPP, by passing a resolution designating May 21-27 a "Build Week" for the community project. HoPP backers testified at the meeting, with leader Miranda Weiss updating the council on fundraising and design efforts for the new playground at Karen Hornaday Park.

Weiss also asked the council to approve an ordinance appropriating $55,000 for the project, introduced at Monday's meeting.

"We have incredible momentum right now," Weiss said. "This an incredible community building project."

Weiss said that when the council considers the ordinance at its Feb. 27 meeting, HoPP will have raised another $22,000, bringing its fundraising to $100,000.

Soldotna Mayor Peter Micchiche praised a similar community building playground project there.

"It literally transformed Soldotna and did some things for our community I didn't think possible," he said.

In other action, the council:

• Approved a mutual aid agreement between the Homer Fire Department and the Anchor Point Fire and Emergency Medical Service Area;

• Approved a resolution supporting having the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District's 2013 Outlook Forum meet in Homer;

• Approved a resolution supporting House Bill 184 relating to sharing tax revenue from the Fisheries Business Tax and Fishery Resource Landing Tax with municipalities;

• Introduced on first reading an ordinance appropriating $81,000 for new city hall furniture;

• Introduced on first reading an ordinance accepting a cruise ship tax pass through grant from the Kenai Peninsula Borough for $35,512.50;

• Introduced on first reading an ordinance appropriating $27,275 for a used skid-mounted steamer to thaw out frozen culverts;

• Introduced on first reading an ordinance amending city code to rezone parts of the East End Road area to East End Mixed Use zoning.

The ordinances introduced Monday night go up for public hearing and council action at the council's next meeting at 6 p.m. Feb. 27 in the Cowles Council Chambers.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.

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