In our own Backyard

Story last updated at 4:24 PM on Wednesday, April 25, 2012


In our own backyard

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer


Photographer: McKibben Jackinsky, Homer News

Rotarians Dave Brann, Charlie Welles and Kathy Hill put fresh paint on the restrooms at Ben Walters Park.

The little park on the shores of Beluga Lake began getting a facelift over the weekend, thanks to the Homer Kachemak Bay Rotary Club and the city of Homer's Adopt-a-Park Program.

In 2011, the club officially adopted Ben Walters Park, next to McDonald's. Rotarian Dave Brann managed to get a few flower bulbs planted before the ground froze. On Saturday and Sunday, Brann was joined by other Rotarians Charlie Welles and Kathy Hill, who hauled out paint and brushes and began putting fresh color on the exterior of the park restrooms.

"I was looking for donations for money to go toward a park from Rotary," said Dave Brann, who, in addition to being a Rotarian, serves on the city's Parks and Recreation Commission. "I donated $200 of my own money and was looking for a match."



• Karen Hornaday Park

• Bishop's Beach Park

• Mariner Park

• Jack Gist Park

• WKFL Park

• Bayview Park

• Ben Walters Park

• Baycrest Overlook Park

• Skateboard Park

• Reber Trail

• Calhoun and Poopbeck Trails

• Beluga Slough Trail

• Homer Spit Trail


• Weeklyn Every two weeksn Once a monthn One-time special project


• Litter controln Vandalism controln Maintenancen Weedingn Brush cutting


Angie Otteson: City of Homer Department of Public Works 3575 Heath

adoption forms:

Brann found his match and then some, with a Homer Kachemak Bay Rotary Club donation of $500. Club members also were specific about which park they wanted their efforts to benefit.

"Everybody liked Ben Walters Park," said Craig Forrest, president of Homer Kachemak Bay Rotary Club.

Located on Ben Walters Lane next to McDonald's, the park has restroom facilities, swings and a gazebo with a fire pit. A trail leads to a dock on Beluga Lake, where it is possible to view floatplane activity and nearby wildlife and, in the winter, have easy access to skating on the lake's frozen surface.

"We accept any and all help, and any and all donations toward making the park a really nice place again," said Forrest, inviting others to help with the volunteer effort.

In addition to the weekend paint job, the club plans more work on the restrooms, repairs to the gazebo and dock, and realignment of posts outlining the parking area.

"And we hope to maybe put one or two benches out on the dock so people can sit and soak in the view, watch the planes take off and land, the geese and other birds and dodge the mosquitoes," said Forrest.

The city's Adopt-a-Park Program was established in May 2011.

"The mission of the Adopt-a-Park Program is to engage Homer area citizens in helping to enhance the city's park and trail system and is intended to augment, rather than replace, city maintenance," said Angie Otteson, the city's parks coordinator.

Activities can be as extensive as plans currently underway by HoPP, the Homer Playground Project, to construct new playground equipment at the Karen Hornaday Park, or something as simple as weekly trash cleanup.

"We decided to try it for a year this first time and see how many people wanted to be involved. It's not a forever commitment," said Brann.

Adoptions can be done by groups, families or individuals.

"And, if groups or organizations wanted to go together, they certainly could," said Otteson.

There are 13 parks and trails from which to choose. The Rotary club's adoption of Ben Walters Park was the first to take place under the program. The club's plan also includes routine cleanup, maintenance and beautification, and ensuring firewood is available for ice skaters and skiers during the winter.

First Families held a work party at the Bayview Park in June 2011. Although not an official adoption, the effort resulted in new equipment being purchased and installed, play areas were weeded and picnic tables were painted.

Information on the program, applications and volunteer agreements are available on the city's website. Applications are submitted to Otteson.

"I will call the individual or contact person of the organization to make arrangements for the tasks the adopter would like to perform," said Otteson.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at