Story last updated at 3:11 p.m. Thursday, December 19, 2002

Land Trust $30,000 shy of $300,000 Poopdeck land funding
by Carey James
Staff Writer

Efforts to raise money to buy a strip of land running adjacent to the Poopdeck Trail are close to succeeding, fund-raisers say, coming in $30,000 shy of the $300,000 price tag.

The land, which includes 3.47 acres below Pioneer Avenue and Svedlund Street, came into the spotlight after Clarence "Poopdeck" Platt died in 2000. Platt's estate agreed to sell the property to the Kachemak Heritage Land Trust, giving the group a year to pay off the amount.

The deadline now looms, although it has been extended from January to February in order to give the trust an opportunity to finish paperwork and raise final funds.

Last March, the trust received a major boost in the fund-raising effort when it got $175,000 worth of stocks from an anonymous donor. Other funds have been received from private and corporate donations as well as grants from around the state.

Trust Executive Director Barb Seaman said donations large and small continue to come in daily, and she is hopeful the community will come through with the final funding. Seaman said the local contributions affirm the community's desire to see more public park space in the center of town.

One donation came from a local man who told his wife to make a donation to the effort instead of buying him a Christmas present.

"The donations just keep rolling in," she said. "We are getting there."

If the final funding is obtained, the trust will hold community forums to decide how to develop the parcel, which is currently a mix of grassland, alder groves and young spruce. The land may be left as is, or developed as a park. Other ideas include putting a community greenhouse or amphitheater on the land.

Anyone interested in donating can contact the trust at 235-5263 or send donations to P.O. Box 2400, Homer, AK, 99603. If the total funds aren't raised, donations will be returned, Seaman said.

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

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