Council to consider funding for community rec center

A public hearing will be held on the ordinance in July

The Homer City Council has begun making some definitive steps toward establishing a new multiuse community recreation center in Homer.

At their last regular meeting on Monday, June 10, the council introduced Ordinance 24-30, which if passed would amend the FY24 capital budget by appropriating $900,000 from the Gas Line Fund for a multiuse community recreation center project.

The establishment of a community rec center is identified as a No. 2 priority in the city’s current list of capital improvement projects. This project also follows the continued issues with and degradation of the Homer Education and Recreation Complex, or HERC, facility — particularly the smaller building, designated HERC 2, which has been completely shut down.

According to the ordinance, the Homer community has “long prioritized the need for indoor municipal recreational and community space, especially considering the ongoing challenges of operating in the local schools” and the HERC.

A public hearing and second reading of Ordinance 24-30 is scheduled for the council’s next meeting on Monday, July 22.

During a special meeting held on Monday, June 17, some public comment was heard by the council on the proposed rec center funding.

Homer resident Heath Smith, who has previously served on the city council, noted that the Gas Line Fund is “leftover” from the free main allowance, which is a refund provided by Enstar to the city when new customers connect to the gas line.

“This is not tax revenue. They’re not fees that the city’s collected. It’s not a gift, it’s not a grant. These are funds that belong to the participants of that buildout,” he said. “The city is one of those participants, so part of that money is actually the city’s. You as the body can appropriate that how you want to, but the rest of it belongs to the participants, so I would encourage you to go through the reimbursement process of getting that money back to those folks.”

Council members Rachel Lord and Jason Davis both expressed a wish to have the proposed funding investigated a little further before the July 22 meeting and second public hearing.

Additionally, during their discussion of Ordinance 24-24 on June 10, which accomplishes “necessary mid-biennium adjustments” for the FY25 capital budget, the council set aside $400,000 from the city’s general fund to be put toward the new rec center.

“This is really just trying to start putting some money aside for a future recreation center,” council member Donna Aderhold, who made the budget amendment, said. “We can talk about the amount, this just seemed like something doable out of the general fund balance.”

Other members of the council also expressed their support of the amendment, including council member Shelly Erickson, who said, “I think one of the things that it says to the recreation community is that we’re serious about this, and we’re … making it happen.”

Find Ordinance 24-30 in full online at