The editorial “Enough already on HERC talks,” which appeared last week in a local paper, contains so much misinformation that one hardly knows where to begin.
First, the HERC is hardly “derelict” as defined by Webster. The building is not ruined, abandoned by the owner, forsaken or deserted. The lights work, doors lock and toilets flush. In fact, the Homer City Council recently allocated up to $19,000 to upgrade and maintain the building’s safety systems and equipment.
Second, over the past two years, and through this summer, even as the Public Safety building site selection committee continues to meet, many diverse groups use the building. Besides pickleball, Bruins Youth Basketball, gymnastics, Popeye Youth Wrestling and women’s basketball league, the HERC is home to a toddler play group and Zumba dancing. Recently, Homer’s longstanding tradition of Community Contra Dancing returned to the HERC with great success, and that activity is scheduled to continue.
Finally, the reason so many activities continue to take place at the HERC is simple: It is the best, sometimes the only, place in Homer suitable and available for those events. If the HERC were truly a “derelict,” then demolition might be necessary. Otherwise, instead of rushing to demolish the HERC as the author(s) of the editorial suggested, city council should ask staff to develop plans and costs to refurbish the HERC gym, with and without the rest of the building, and bring that information to the discussion. It is important that any decision on the fate of the HERC provides for the recreational activities that would be displaced by that decision.
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