Story last updated at 3:27 p.m. Thursday, September 12, 2002

Library, animal shelter top city council wish lists
by Carey James
Staff Writer

The Homer City Council began the annual task of choosing projects for several lists that will help guide state lawmakers and departments as they distribute funds to the city.

One of the most alluring pots of money up for grabs is the Capital Project Matching Grant, also called the governor's grant, which channeled around $100,000 in state funding (as well as around $30,000 in matching funds from the city) to the project of choice -- the library -- last year.

While in years past support has seesawed between the proposed animal shelter and library, this year, as with last, the library appears to have the most council backing.

Support for the choice of the library was found not only from several council members but also from the audience at Monday night's meeting, when several people involved with the library spoke.

Nancy Lord, chair of the Library Advisory Board, encouraged the council to support the library in any way possible while others continue fund-raising for the new facility. In addition, Lord encouraged the council to make decisions regarding funding already obtained for the library, as well as look at an overall funding plan for the facility.

"The state is not going to buy us that library," she said.

Others encouraged the council to move forward with finding a location for the proposed new library.

On the capital improvement projects list, the expansion of a city water main into the East Hill and Mountain View areas was suggested as the top priority, followed by the library and the animal shelter.

Mayor Jack Cushing said a Department of Environmental Conservation project always makes top priority in that list because otherwise the DEC doesn't consider the project at all.

While voicing his support for the library and shelter, Councilman Rick Ladd said he was concerned other projects, such as a fire station near the Homer reservoir off Skyline Drive, might be more important.

"What's urgent for the community?" Ladd asked. "Are there other projects that are more urgent?"

The discussion placed items such as corrosion control for the Homer Deep Water Cargo Dock, a ladder truck for the fire department, and the proposed Skyline fire station on the council's wish list along with items carried over from last year, such as pathways and public restrooms.

The council also worked on a priority list of DEC projects as well as a resolution of support for area-wide projects, such as the Kachemak Bay Campus Facility, improvements to the Pratt Museum, and others.

In other news, the council accepted funding from grants for the skateboard park and accepted a bid for the paving of the property in front of the Homer Boys and Girls Club on the Sterling Highway.

Builders Services Inc. is set to pave the 8,000-square foot area as soon as the city hands over a Notice to Proceed. The project should take two days to complete, according to Dick Gregoire of Builders Services.

The city commended harbor officer Larry Rutherford for performing CPR on a patient at the harbor launch ramp.

Carey James can be reached at cjames@homernews.com.

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