As if there weren’t already enough reasons to love Homer’s Karen Hornaday Park, a group of service-minded volunteers just added a few more with several new sections of walking trails.
Deb Lowney and Robert Archibald presented the fruits of everyone’s hard work at a talk before the Homer City Council’s Monday meeting.
There, they detailed the results of the work using funds from the HART program — Homer Accelerated Road and Trails — and presented a photo slideshow displaying the new trail sections lining the park on West Fairview Avenue.
A group of about 30 volunteers from around the community put in more than 378 documented hours among the dirt and gravel to add trail sections throughout the park.
“We came in well under budget,” Lowney told the council Monday.
The group is still under $5,000 in terms of spending, while $8,000 was budgeted for the project, she said. Lowney anticipates it will take about another $200 to put the finishing touches on the trails.
There are still some areas being worked on, she said, like a chute of trail near the parking lot on the park’s east side, the addition of which she said offers two complete walking loops. Lowney said the city’s Public Works Department was instrumental in terms of responding out to the park to help volunteers when they needed it, and were very easy to work with.
A local girl scouts group will also get involved with the trails, she said.
“I know that maintenance of trails as we add trails to our trail system is a concern,” Lowney said. “And I do want to let you guys know that with this trail, we also have found a group that is willing to not necessarily maintain it, but they will kind of adopt it in terms of making sure they clean up trash around it, do the brushing of it as often as they can.”
Additional funds raised from community members will go toward improving signage in the park with regard to the trails. Lowney said the group like to get some interpretive nature-oriented signs for one of the trails, as well as some general marking signs so that the entrance to the trails can be easily identified.
“I would really like to encourage other groups to take advantage of this opportunity and to seek the opportunity to do this with you and further their trail projects within our community,” she said.
There will be a grand opening for the new trail sections at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24, at Karen Hornaday Park.
“We’ll be (giving) hot dogs out to the community and just really encouraging everybody to come up and enjoy the Karen Hornaday Park for hopefully one last big fling before the snow does fall,” Lowney said.