For healthier community, Homer needs rec center, not bigger police, fire station

I have grown up in Homer, graduating from Homer High in 2010. I have recently heard talk about a recreation center to be built in Homer. 

I have dreamed of this day since I fell in love with basketball years ago, shooting hoops in my driveway in the frigid cold, trying to perfect my shooting stroke whilst wearing insulated gloves to keep myself from freezing, hoping that someday I would just be able to play ball in a real gym whenever I wanted.

As the gym rat that I am, I would utilize a rec center every day whether for working out or playing basketball, and I know that I’m not the only one. As of now, the only time we can play ball is two days a week from 8-10 p.m. at Homer High, giving gym priority to the HHS athletes. 

As for our youth, this would give Homer kids the opportunity to learn how to play sports even before middle school, producing much better athletes as they progress through school in addition to teaching them the value of teamwork. 

As the late Nelson Mandela once said: “Sport has the power to change the world … it has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair.” 

If the only thing holding this idea back is a conflict between building a recreation center or a $17 million police and firefighting station, then we have our priorities mixed up as a community. Sure the current stations may be aged and a bit small but there’s nothing wrong with them. Also as the small community we are, we have a smaller group of officers and firefighters so what is the need to spend so much money expanding their bases, it’s not like we need more policing or police training around here anyway. 

I hope that my piece is heard throughout as I speak for many of us in saying that a recreation center in Homer is long overdue. Now that we have the funds, we need to take advantage and create a more healthy community. 

Norm Anderson is a Homer High School alumnus and 2010 Mariner of the Year. An avid basketball player and fisherman, he spent last year as a freelance reporter for the Homer News.