Karen Hornaday Park will get some needed adjustments, but not everything the Parks, Art, Recreation and Culture Advisory Commission originally wanted.
The Homer City Council passed an ordinance at its Monday meeting that appropriates up to $48,590 from the Homer Accelerated Roads/Trails (HART) Fund for traffic calming and safety improvements on Karen Hornaday Road. According to the ordinance, sponsored by council member Tom Stroozas, the funding will go toward shifting the road slightly to the east at the upper portion on the park’s parking lot, as well as making the edges of the parking lot more defined with boulders. The project would also include installing speed bumps, concrete stops and landscaping shrubbery “wherever possible to prolong the life span of the improvement and visual appeal,” according to the ordinance.
Issues with safety and parking organization have long plagued Karen Hornaday Park. A project called “Karen Hornaday Park Improvements, Phase 2” is listed in the city’s Capital Improvements Plan. That project focuses on completely relocating the access road to the park. However, according to the ordinance passed Monday, it was found in 2012 that relocating the road would cost $726,000.
When the ordinance to fund safety improvements first came up at council, members of PARCAC commented that the proposed changes would not fix the overall problem, that they would be more of a bandage.
“PARCAC also recommended improving the trail on the west side of the access road to ADA standards which is not addressed in this ordinance,” the ordinance text states.
Council members decided to send the ordinance back to PARCAC to let them review it and see if they could come up with something that better suited their wishes for the park. According to a memo sent from the commission to the city council on Oct. 1, members of PARCAC discussed amending their recommendation to the council, but ultimately decided to leave it the same. The recommendation was sent back to the city the same at it was originally submitted.
Also at Monday’s meeting, Homer’s new mayor and two re-elected city council members were sworn in. Ken Castner took his oath and signed his oath of office as the replacement for Bryan Zak, who did not run for re-election due to medical reasons. Several council members thanked Zak, though he was not present, for his service to the city.
Council members Heath Smith and Donna Adderhold were also sworn in. They were both re-elected in an uncontested race for two seats on the council with three-year-terms. PARCAC member Deb Lowney’s name also appeared on the ballot, and she received a few hundred votes, but she was not actively running. Lowney announced that she was pulling out of the race last month for personal reasons.