The Homer Education and Recreation Complex at the corner of the Sterling Highway and Pioneer Avenue. (Homer News file photo)

The Homer Education and Recreation Complex at the corner of the Sterling Highway and Pioneer Avenue. (Homer News file photo)

City seeks letters of interest from possible HERC tenants

The Homer Education and Recreation Complex could soon have a new caretaker, and the city wants to know who’s up for the job.

The Homer City Council voted at its last meeting to ask the public for letters of interest from potential tenants who would like to occupy the HERC1 building, the biggest of two buildings at the complex.

Recommendations by a task force dedicated to exploring the future of the HERC found that tearing it down and starting from scratch would be too expensive for the city, as would renovating the building on its own. The official recommendation was for the city to seek a public-private partnership to give the HERC new life under the management and maintenance of a third party.

The resolution passed at the Jan. 28 council meeting requests letters of interest by no later than Feb. 19. The council will then follow up with a worksession on Feb. 25 to discuss the letters, as well as what the city is willing to contribute toward capital repairs to the aging and problematic building.

“Gathering letters of interest from interested parties will open the door to determining effective use of the space and to seeking potential stakeholders who are interested in investing in the building as third party property managers,” the resolution text states.

Within the letters, interested tenants are asked to include things like what their space needs would be, how the space would be used and at what time of day, how much the tenant would be able to pay the city on a monthly basis and how long of a lease the tenant would be willing to commit to.

One letter requirement in particular was given extra attention by council members. They voted to amend the resolution asking for letters of interest to include a stipulation that tenants must address how they would allow for community recreation within the HERC while leasing it.

“I think that there needs to be something included in the letters of interest that addresses that need,” said council member Heath Smith. “So that they (tenants) recognize what the need is of community recreation and what they’re willing to accommodate if they were to be interested in the space. … Because if they have no interest, then we should know that upfront. Or if they do, and they have a way to work that into what they’re doing, then that should be something included in the letter of interest.”

The resolution also stipulates that Homer Community Recreation from the city will submit its own letter of interest, detailing the department’s needs as a tenant of HERC1.

Letters can be submitted to the City Clerk and are due by 5 p.m. on the deadline day.

For more information on the requirements and deadline for letters of interest, visit the city website at cityofhomer-ak.gov and look under “Featured Content.”

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

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