A group of Homer residents are banding together to build a pavilion on the Homer Spit where the Harbor Master’s Office used to be. The Boat House is expected to be a gathering place for the Homer community as well as visitors.
The Homer Spit is a magnet for high energy activity during the summer. The Homer Boat House Project is an attempt to capitalize on that energy.
“Some of us have seen the new harbor side pavilion that Seldovia has built in the last couple of years. It really is a beautiful building. It’s a public building right at the edge of their harbor and we thought, ‘wow, Homer needs something like that.’ Right now people are meeting and staking their gear in the middle of the parking lot,” said Miranda Weiss.
Miranda Weiss is a volunteer with the project. She predicts the boat house will be an economic multiplier that will keep people on the Spit for longer periods of time. She says the longer people stay the more money they’re likely to spend.
“The Spit is such a busy place sometimes you just need a little downtime. You need to get out of the wind and regroup. Then you can go back out there and enjoy the rest of what the Spit has to offer,” said Weiss.
A boat house would add to forward momentum in the City of Homer’s attempts to revitalize the Spit. In the past couple of years the city has sanctioned upgrades for the docks, new access ramps, improvements to the load and launch ramp, trail work and of course the construction of the new Port and Harbor Office which just opened last year.
Weiss says the city council voted to add the Boat House Project to the city’s list of capital improvement projects. But, she adds, the city has not promised to contribute any money toward the pavilion’s construction.
“Basically this is going to be a similar kind of project [like] we did at Karen Hornaday Park. It was a private effort [and] private funding. It’s a great resource that the city will own and maintain in the end,” said Weiss.
The Homer Foundation is the Boat House Project’s fiscal sponsor. Weiss says the partnership will allow supporters to deduct donations for their tax returns.
She says the building is being designed for free by Anchorage based architecture firm ECI Hyer. That firm also designed the Homer Public Library.
Another firm, Corvus Landscape Design, is helping with the landscape and site planning. They’re also working pro bono.
“What the site plan does is create a pedestrian space, a boardwalk, a people space. It also increases parking in that area,” said Weiss.
Weiss says they’ve collected about a quarter of the $210,000 needed to finish the boat house.
There will be an open house for the project at Land’s End Resort on January 13th.
“It’s a chance for people to see preliminary architectural drawings, meet the architect, find out more about what this project is about and lend their two cents. We’re looking for input right now to shape this project,” said Weiss.
The open house will be from 5-7 pm. Weiss says food and drinks will be served.