Story last updated at 2:33 p.m. Friday, July 5, 2002

Youth facility good idea, but caution still warranted
The Homer Hockey Association has made great headway on the plans for a new indoor hockey arena. It's a great idea to expand the potential of the facility to include other sports activities. The ice will only be on the floor five months of the year. That leaves a lot of time for other activities in a 41,625-square-foot covered arena.

The more functions that can be found for this multi-use field house, the more sense it makes. This won't be a cheap little project to build or maintain, and the more users the cost can be spread among, the better.

Nonprofit organizations can do some amazing things. Homer Council on the Arts recently raised enough money through grants and donations to buy its new building. KBBI just rounded up the last piece of funding it needs for equipment upgrades and enhancements to the tune of $184,000.

The Rasmuson Foundation awarded about $10 million to nonprofits statewide for the first half of 2002.

Let's hope the Homer Hockey Association can hold the cornerstone position for bringing the Homer arena/field house project to reality. The group is strong on enthusiasm. Let's hope it's just as strong on stamina.

The city's Planning Commission is taking a careful look at this project. Wisdom is holding back the reins to avoid a runaway approval of this popular project. It is good that the commission is exploring all of its aspects and ramifications.

Granting a variance from the 35-foot height restriction affects our city's ability to provide adequate fire protection with the city's existing equipment.

What does that mean? Does the city have to go out and buy a new expensive ladder truck? Does the city need a new building to house the new ladder truck? It's good that the Planning Commission is asking these questions.

Delaying the granting of a variance until these questions are answered is a sign of a commission doing its job. It is appropriate for the commission to place restrictions on the project, such as a required fire sprinkler system, adequate fire lanes, adequate parking and multiple access and egress routes. Let's avoid another bottleneck like we currently experience when we leave the high school.

Tell us again why Heath Street doesn't go all the way through to the high school.

Supporting our youth by providing infrastructure for activities is a good thing. May the blue lines stay bright and the crab grass be held at bay.