Council authorizes sister city celebration task force

Deadline to apply is March 25

There may not be a visiting delegation from Teshio, Homer’s sister city in Japan, this year, but that isn’t stopping the planning for a 40th anniversary celebration from going full steam ahead.

The Homer City Council passed Resolution 24-029 at their last regular meeting on March 11, authorizing the creation of a formal task force to manage the city’s celebration plans.

The task force follows the work of a sister city working group that was formed in August 2023 and has “diligently developed plans for the celebration, including events, exhibits and programs,” the resolution states. However, the city felt it necessary to “create a formal task force to clearly distinguish between celebrations sponsored by the City of Homer and privately-supported events, and to manage the City’s celebrations without impeding the ability of other groups to develop and promote events of their own.”

The task force was also created following the passing of Ordinance 24-11(A) on Feb. 12, which appropriated $20,000 from the city’s General CARMA fund for anniversary celebration events, exhibits and programs.

“The city government decided that once public money started being involved, that (planning) should be put on a more formal footing, so that’s what the task force is created for,” Homer Public Library Director Dave Berry told Homer News on Friday. Berry was also formerly the sister city working group’s co-chair.

The task force will consist of five members of the general public, with Lori Pond, assistant to the city manger, acting as the city staff liaison, according to Berry.

Applications for the task force must be submitted to the city clerk’s office by March 25. Task force members will be nominated by the mayor and approved by the city council at the regular meeting scheduled for April 8.

The task force’s duties include, according to the resolution, fostering close relations and collaborating with Teshio on planning joint activities, planning and organizing anniversary celebration events, advising the council on expenditure of city funds allocated for the celebration, and coordinating community engagement by actively conducting public outreach and recruiting volunteers.

“Anybody who’s interested in volunteering or offering their expertise should definitely get in touch with the task force,” Berry said. “You don’t have to be a member of the task force to participate in the celebrations or to help out.”

Currently, the city is planning the majority of celebrations for 2024, with the possibility of a delegation exchange in 2025.

From the beginning of May through early September, the Pratt Museum will host an exhibit of the artwork that Teshio has donated to the City of Homer over the years, Berry told Homer News. The city is also looking into coordinating a traditional taiko drumming demonstration with professional performance group Tomodachi Daiko from Anchorage. Further information about the group can be found at

“We might bring them down for a performance in May, if all goes well,” Berry said.

Additionally, the city plans to put up banners highlighting Teshio on the lampposts along Pioneer Avenue and refurbish the Friendship Post that formerly stood in WKFL Park.

“(The post) said ‘peace and friendship’ in four languages on each of the four sides,” Berry said. “We’re going to refurbish that and hopefully get that set up again.”

The task force will remain in effect until its mission is complete as defined, or until Dec. 31, 2025, according to Resolution 24-029. The 2025 cut-off date is meant to coincide with a possible delegation visit next year.

“Planning for a delegation would be one of (the task force’s) big activities, and once they have that completed and finished their mission, the task force would wrap up,” Berry said.

The resolution and supplemental materials are available in full at Resolution 24-029 was passed as part of the consent agenda at the March 11 regular council meeting; no discussion was held on the resolution.