TO: Walt Wrede, City Manager
FROM: Carey Meyer, Public Works Director
DATE: May 22, 2012
RE: Karen Hornaday Park – U.S. Fish & Wildlife Learning Landscape Grant
Recommendation to Authorize Grant Application and Acceptance
The Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission has identified landscaping as a priority in implementing the Karen Hornaday Park master plan. The Public Works desires to pursue a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for 50% match grant funding up to $25,000 for the installation of landscaping at the Karen Hornaday Park playground.
The City will work with the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies (CACS) and the Homer Playground Project (HoPP) to plan and implement Learning Landscape improvements at Karen Hornaday Park, obtain in-kind matching funds and donations. Volunteers with HoPP will work with schools and other partners to design the landscape project consisting of a series of planting beds each with an educational theme. HoPP will seek out donations of plant materials, landscaping materials, recruit volunteers, and with the goal of establishing low-maintenance landscaping that incorporates native vegetation.
Landscape work associated with the day use area such as soil tillage, grading, drainage, top soil, seeding, pathways, benches and work being completed at the new playground will qualify for in-kind match funds. See attached preliminary budget showing anticipated in-kind contributions.
The landscaping project will have a focus on local native plants with such themes as ‘Pollinators,’ ‘Edible Plants,’ ‘Economic Benefits of Plants,’ ‘Exotic Beauty of Native and Non-native Plants,’ ‘Plants of the Beach Dunes,’ ‘Wetland Habitat Plants’ and other themes to be developed.
The project will involve the community and schoolchildren. The project site was selected because of its public access and ease of bringing school groups to the park. Karen Hornaday Park is open to the public year-round. The park is frequented by families, school groups and tourists. A series of highly visible pocket gardens will be placed at the entrances to the new playground, adjacent sitting areas and in the day use area.
HoPP volunteers will design the planting beds or “pocket gardens” identify sources for plant material and begin to layout the gardens during the summer of 2012. CACS will lead the educational component of this project through the design and installation of interpretative signs which will raise awareness about the need for pollinators, describe how parts of edible plants are used and have been traditionally foraged, etc. The City of Homer’s “Adopt-a-Park” volunteers and Hornaday Campground hosts may assist with annual maintenance.
Other Partners: The following partners have offered assistance:
• Alaska Plant Materials Center
• Cooperative Extension Service Habitat Specialist
• Homer Soil and Water Conservation District
• State of Alaska Div. of Forestry and Plant Nursery
• Homer Area Nurseries
• Gee Denton, Homer Landscape Designer
• Homer Lions Club
• Individuals – Plant Specialists
Recommendations: The City Council pass an resolution authorizing the City Manager to make a formal U.S. Fish & Wildlife “Learning Landscape” grant application and execute a grant agreement for the completion landscaping at Karen Hornaday Park Playground in the amount of up to $25,000; 50% of which will be matched with labor/material in-kind contributions from participating organizations and individuals.