Woodard Creek is a vibrant natural asset connecting the community from Karen Hornaday Park to Bishop’s Beach. Volunteers from City government, arts and culture, sciences and recreation teamed up to paint Woodard Creek across Pioneer Avenue on August 23. Carey Meyer, Director of Public Works for the City of Homer, supported the effort by directing traffic and providing the orange cones, barricades, vests and flags. Bunnell purchased the appropriate road paint and obtained the permit to paint the road from the State of Alaska Department of Transportation. Volunteers also included Robert Archibald and Deb Lowney (Parks and Rec Commissioners for the City of Homer), Bob Shavelson (Executive Director, Cook Inlet Keeper), artists Rika Mouw and Annie Bailey and Bunnell staff, Asia Freeman and Michael Walsh. Bright blue and white road paint splash across the street in sinuous lines suggesting a river bracketed by the reminder, “Woodard Creek Flows Here.” Meanwhile, at the Pratt Museum, Bunnell board members Kayla Spaan and Carla Cope lead a non-toxic kids chalk painting activity. As both groups created abstract imagery depicting a river, Woodard Creek flowed quietly under the pavement and danced down to Kachemak Bay.
The Woodard Creek Painting project intends to shape community planning. Street painters are part of the cross-sector partnership, Woodard Creek Coalition, which aims to daylight (deculvert and reveal) the creek as a community asset and a powerful force that should be respected. The creek is an historic recreational and cultural feature of Homer, but it isn’t always quiet. On rainy days the creek can roar and cause significant erosion and damage to private property on its route from the watershed above South Peninsula Hospital, alongside Karen Hornaday Park and down Bartlett Street, under Sterling Highway down to the sea. As the State looks toward rebuilding roads especially where storm surges reveal problems in road design, and roads favor vehicles, volunteers wish to suggest opportunities for future redesign, featuring attractive and more functional bridge culverts, parks, art installations and recreational trails along Woodard Creek.