Old Town business, Drift Wood Inn, celebrates Old Town Beautification efforts during the July 4th parade in Homer, Alaska.

Old Town business, Drift Wood Inn, celebrates Old Town Beautification efforts during the July 4th parade in Homer, Alaska.

Update

‘Tis the season for major partnerships! This month especially has highlighted the substantial leg-work required to launch Old Town AIR. After almost a year of neighborhood meetings and advocacy to foment community engagement we are ready for launch! The City of Homer is considering a $98,500 match for neighborhood traffic-calming and pedestrian infrastructure. Our neighbors are listing their ideas and investments, donations to support the project. Artists nationwide are looking at Old Town AIR’s RFP nationwide and submitting Letters of Interest . Major galvanization is underway.

Recent Wins

On July 22nd, Homer City Council will be voting on Ordinance 13-24: “An Ordinance of the City Council of Homer, Alaska, Amending the FY 2013 Capital Budget by Appropriating $98,500 From the Homer Accelerated Roads and Trails Program Fund (HART) for Road Improvements, Trail Construction, and Pedestrian Safety and Walkability Enhancements in Old Town.” This ordinance cements a partnership of monumental importance to successful creative place making efforts in Old Town, Homer. We are rallying written and verbal testimony from the community in support of passing this ordinance. Next month, I look forward to blogging about this impressive city-appropriated match!

Artists have begun sending in their LOIs for the Old Town AIR program, and how exciting it is to visualize their projects. Their enthusiasm and creativity is already illuminating the neighborhood with possibilities for projects like poetry along neighborhood trails and murals along drab fences.

Old Town neighbors are submitting site proposals for artists’ imaginations. I feel like a matchmaker, aligning participating property owners with compelling artist proposals. For instance, one enthusiastic neighbor would like to offer her long fence as a mural site. As we hoped, we received an LOI from an accomplished muralist with a proposal for that very fence. The Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center, who is a partnership between Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge and the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve (another exciting partnership!), is installing interpretive signage along their existing nature trail in Old Town and would love to have an artist boost the aesthetic impact with lyrically interpretive text for the signs. Like clockwork, a poet submitted her official LOI to do just that for the trail. It’s a creative placemaking match-maker’s dream!

Insight

How satisfying it feels to be part of a project, which uses the arts to strengthen a community’s inherit goodness. That’s certainly what we’re doing. So many want to be a part of making the good better! The more partnerships we activate, the more momentum builds around the project’s heart. The city and neighborhood partners are seeing this as an opportunity, not only for themselves, but also for the betterment of the entire neighborhood. Each day I’m excited to see which seedlings will finally emerge in our little neighborhood garden of partners. And as each green stock emerges I’m thankful, affirmed and excited to see how things are really “Going to Good.”

Old Town business, Drift Wood Inn, celebrates Old Town Beautification efforts during the July 4th parade in Homer, Alaska.

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