CITY OF HOMER
To: Mayor Wythe and Homer City Council
Through: Walt Wrede, City Manager
From: Katie Koester, Community and Economic Development Coordinator
Dotti Harness-Foster, Planning Technician
Date: February 20, 2013
Re: Seasonal day-use RV parking at the HERC building
EDC Commissioner Ross, Karin Marks (Chamber member), Brianna Allen representing Old Town, Katie Koester and myself met on December 14th and on February 6th to explore options for providing RV day-use parking in Downtown Homer for the 2013 tourist season.
The “RV group” identified two sites. Both provide sidewalks to Downtown and Old Town Homer. First, the Chamber parking area will serve the Old Town businesses; second, the Homer Education and Recreation Center (HERC) parking area will serve the business district along Pioneer Avenue.
RV parking would be for the summer only (second weekend in May to Labor Day), from 8am to 9pm. It would be advertised on the Homer map that is published by the Homer news and other appropriate publications. The deadline for the map additions is the end of February.
This project aligns with Homer’s Development and Economic Plans to “Provide parking for RVs in downtown Homer with signage to make it easy for drivers to locate the parking” as written in the 2011 Homer Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). Implementation strategies for Homer’s Comprehensive Plan include “Support Pioneer Avenue/Downtown business and other year-round businesses. Effort should be made in the future to have more tourists visit downtown Homer to support year round businesses.” Resolution 12-041, which prioritizes elements of Homer’s CEDS, designates “Downtown vitalization” as one of many strategies to improve economic growth in Homer.
The RV group discussed potential problems and has researched solutions. The RV group welcomes any guidance in addressing perceived potential problems. Starting small, as in two sites, will allow us to easily monitor and resolve problems that may arise. If successful, additional parking areas could be explored for the 2014 season.
Signs: Both the Sterling Highway and Pioneer Avenue are State maintained roads, but the State does not install tourist directional signs. Therefore, a volunteer with business interests may install the signs on the existing posts. The estimated cost of the signs and the State permit is approximately $750. This includes five direction signs: three on the Sterling Highway, Pioneer Avenue and Ohlson Road, plus two signs in the parking areas “RV Angle Parking 8a-9p” “Park at your own risk; Not responsible for lost or stolen items.” “No littering” and “BYOB Bring Your Own Bag.”
Keeping the HERC parking area litter free: RV’s have trash receptacles, so the need to provide trash receptacles in the parking area may not be necessary. A sign in the parking area will indicate “No littering.”
Insurance: The City’s existing liability insurance policy covers all of the City’s actions, so there is no additional insurance cost. Assessing the risks and deciding if the reward outweighs the risk is prudent. The City’s agent suggests signs in the parking area that warn travelers: “Park at your own risk; Not responsible for lost or stolen items.” Two of these signs are included in the proposed budget.
Advertising: If approved by City Council on Feb. 25th, both the Chamber and HERC site will be identified on the “Homer Map” which the Homer News publishes at no cost to the City.
Future goals: By intention the RV Group has started small, two sites. This gives us the opportunity to resolve issues on a small scale. If successful, the RV Group would like the business community to take the lead for the 2014 season and beyond.
Parking enforcement: On occasion, overnight RV parking happens in the larger lots in town. If necessary, the RV traveler is provided with information as to the location of RV camp grounds and the issue is resolved. Again, starting small will allow us to monitor this.
Budget (Signs): $750.00