HERC task force to finalize building recommendations
The Homer Education and Recreation Complex Task Force will finalize its recommendations regarding what to do with the HERC building Tuesday. Those recommendations will be forwarded onto the Homer City Council.
The task force is advising the council to keep the HERC building open for the next five years so residents can continue to use the lower level for recreational activities while also making some use of the second story.
Currently, the second floor is utilized for storage. But the task force found the upstairs can be safely used with no capital improvements. A fire marshal approved the space this month for uses such as professional services, civic administration and adult education.
The draft recommendations also urge the city to make short-term repairs to the HERC building to sustain it temporarily and prevent future deterioration. To continue to pay for the operations of the building, the task force will likely suggest increasing user fees, along with other suggestions.
The idea behind the overall plan is that it would provide the city time to develop decide what to ultimately do with the building.
Task force members are also recommending that the council create another task force this winter to pursue funding for community recreation and education needs, such as securing a private-public partnership for the HERC. That could include finding a business or group willing to rent the space in order to provide funds to renovate and maintain the building.
Fireweed Academy expressed interest in leasing the HERC, though that would require major capital improvements in order for it to meet school standards.
If the council is unable to secure funding to maintain the HERC in five years, the draft plans say options could range from demolishing both buildings on the property to building a new facility. The HERC task force meeting is Tuesday at 3 p.m.