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Kachemak City's Alice Witte Park gets a community makeover


Kachemak City Council has plans underway to renovate the park at Kachemak Community Center. Councilmembers and community members begin phase one of the project in July. KBBI's Kathleen Gustafson has the story.

At a Kachemak City Council meeting several months ago, Councilmember Bill Fry says he brought up the poor condition of Alice Witte Park at Kachemak Community Center.

"...and the mayor goes, well, are you going to fix it? That's kind of how  this started. The fence is falling over and the courts are really cracked. It's getting to be a safety issue. The City has enough money in Maintenance to tear it down, but it would be a shame to lose that resource. A lot of people use it," Fry said.

The courts are phase one of the three phase renovation plan. The City has already dedicated $45,000 from their maintenance fund to engage a contractor and a grant writer. Community members have made in kind donations of work and materials. The pickleball league has volunteered to do the work of painting the new courts to include lines for pickleball, tennis and basketball. 

Fry says that's enough to begin the project. To fund the rest, the City of Kachemak entered into a fiscal partnership with the Homer Foundation. The goal is to raise $150,000.

" We're trying to raise  $30,000 through donations.  The tennis court part of it, I mean the multi-use court is about $100,000. The rest would be to build the soccer fields. So we applied for a matching grant of $75,000 ," said Fry.

If they can meet their fundraising goals, the playground will get some attention as well. 
Hanna Young is on the City's task force for the project and is the owner of the Tiny Trees Forest School in Kachemak City. She brings her students to the park on most days. Young says the swings, metal slides and teeter totters are great, but there are issues.  The fencing is incomplete and the only way to enter the playground is through the courts. But she says the park has lots of untapped potential.

"In the task force we've talked about  moving the fill that is underneath the tennis court and creating more of a field -  and things that children can do on their own such as a mud kitchen, balancing logs or a pile of sand," Young said.

Kachemak City Resident Jeanne Anderson is also on the task force.  She's been helping organize people and materials. Phase one of the project begins in July.

", asphalt laying, fencing, field placement and prep for seating.
There's going to be a parking area on Winding Trails and a path into the park. And, that starts in August. After August, we'll be developing this area to open up into a playground and a pond if we have the money," Anderson said.

Anderson says there is a fundraiser in the works for late June but the best way for people to help out now is to donate to the project through the Homer Foundation, who will be matching any donations they receive. Councilmember Fry is confident that they'll meet their goal. Kachemak City, he says, has a history of supporting recreational spaces in Homer and he hopes to see that reciprocated.

"Kachemak City in the past has given pretty generously to Homer as well. I mean, we're good neighbors. We have given $20,000 to SPARC, $10,000 to the Homer High track," Fry said.


Kathleen Gustafson came to Homer in 1999 and has been involved with KBBI since 2003.