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Homer Harbor expansion study may receive federal funding again

Otters near boats docked in Homer Harbor on Feb. 23, 2024. The US Army Corps of Engineers and the City of Homer are conducting a feasibility study on expanding the harbor.
Jamie Diep
Otters near boats docked in Homer Harbor on Feb. 23, 2024. The US Army Corps of Engineers and the City of Homer are conducting a feasibility study on expanding the harbor.

A study looking into expanding Homer Harbor may get federal funding for the next fiscal year after losing it for this year.

The three-year study is investigating how to expand the city’s harbor. The project initially cost $3 million dollars, with half funded by the federal government and the other half split between the city and the state.

However, the city and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers announced a more than $1.15 million cost increase for the study last fall, bringing the total cost to more than $4.1 million. The federal government also didn’t fund the project for the current fiscal year that runs until the end of September.

Jenny Carroll, the city’s Special Projects and Communications Coordinator, said the corps is continuing work even though the funding shortfall is slowing down the project.

“The Corps’ primary work right now they're, they're dedicating their funding to some ecological modeling and coordinating with agencies for environmental permitting,” she said.

The additional cost goes towards a geotechnical survey and ship simulation that provides essential information for designing a larger harbor. Carroll said the city plans to begin geotechnical work in the coming months.

The project’s federal funds come from President Joe Biden’s budget. The next fiscal year’s budget will put $800,000 for the project, which covers the federal government’s portion within that time period. Congress needs to approve the funds through an appropriations bill before the project sees any federal money. The federal government has provided about $350,000 out of over $2 million they will ultimately contribute to the project.

The city passed legislation in January that commits them to paying for their $288,524 portion of the increased cost. If all the funding is secured, the city would pay over about $1.03 million for the project. But, while the state has committed $750,000 to the project, Carroll said additional funding remains up in the air.

“The federal government has agreed to that additional cost for the study, as well as the city,” she said, “and so we're working with the state to try to identify capital funds, even though it's a very difficult fiscal environment right now.”

Carroll said the city has worked with Rep. Sarah Vance and Sen. Gary Stevens — who both represent Homer — to secure state funding through the capital budget. Stevens said he is advocating for including the funds in the budget.

Local News Kenai Peninsula NewsHomer HarborHomer Harbor ExpansionU.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Jamie Diep is a reporter/host for KBBI from Portland, Oregon. They joined KBBI right after getting a degree in music and Anthropology from the University of Oregon. They’ve built a strong passion for public radio through their work with OPB in Portland and the Here I Stand Project in Taipei, Taiwan.Jamie covers everything related to Homer and the Kenai Peninsula, and they’re particularly interested in education and environmental reporting. You can reach them at to send story ideas.