By Carey Restino
Self-proclaimed “Homer brat” Genny Miller waited through a long and emotionally charged Monday city council meeting to bring some good news; she plans to bring back fun.
Miller, formerly Lyda, noted that 2014 is the city’s 50th anniversary and — as such — the community plans to beef up its Homer Winter Carnival significantly this year. Organizers are bringing back many favorites she remembers from her childhood, including outhouse races, snowshoe softball games between the U.S. Coast Guard and the Homer Fire Department and more.
“You should be having a party,” Miller said enthusiastically.
This year’s carnival theme will be “Dancing in the Streets,” Miller reported, adding that she hopes the increased carnival offerings will create a winter tourist wave with people, “coming to see crazy people run down the street with outhouses.”
The carnival, which occurs in early February each year, always includes a parade. But this year, incentives will be offered for people to create “magnificent floats,” Miller said.
“We would like to encourage everyone to participate in that,” she said.
Later in the meeting, longtime Homer resident Charles Davis testified that he thought they should bring back the crab pot races he recalled from earlier winter carnivals.
“It was an exciting thing to race a crab pot down Lake Street,” he said, laughing.
In other news, the council:
• Heard first mention of plans to put a bronze statute of Brother Isaiah Bates in the WKFL park west of the Homer Fire Department on Pioneer Avenue. City manager Walt Wrede said the effort was just getting underway, but expected those involved will present more news soon to the council.
• Discussed briefly the effort to build a road directly from Beluga Lake to the Homer Airport, thus eliminating the biannual towing of float planes from the airport to the lake across Beluga Slough.
Wrede said the road is being designed currently, and public comments are being solicited, with the city supporting the effort because it is likely to improve public safety.
• Discussed whether or not to write a letter of support for the city of Soldotna’s legislative budget request for indoor soccer fields. Wrede reported that Soldotna feels Homer would benefit from the fields, given that local soccer players scramble each season to find a place to play before outdoor fields are usable.
Some on the council, however, expressed reluctance to support another city’s recreational needs when the city is struggling to support its own. The council, however, instructed the city manager to bring a letter of support to the council as a means to start the conversation with area stakeholders.
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