Steve Williams, owner and operator of Highkey Science, has taken his business to new heights.
More recently, Williams took a big step by locking his business into a one-year lease for a headquartered location. Starting in the fall, Highkey Science’s main hub will take place at the village of Homer’s old recreation center on 53 South Main St.
“Hopefully this is a springboard to bringing fresh, vibrant energy (to the Homer area),” he said.
Highkey Science is an organization that takes science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and uses the based learning by traveling through central New York to set up engaging, hands-on play and learning sessions for children.
Williams has already established a partnership with Phillips Free Library and the village’s recreation department. Now, the partnership aspect will span across the village.
Having a building to put his business, Williams’ goal is to make Highkey Science an integral part of Homer.
“(The library, recreation department and Highkey Science) have put on very successful events at this point,” he said. “We want to offer things in places where they don’t have it.”
Williams recently spoke with village community members about the recreation building. The one word that Williams took out of the conversation to describe the building was “underutilized.”
“Aside from being good real estate, it was a solid location based on the demographic Highkey Science focuses on,” he said.
Since his business is focused on working with children, Williams chose the recreation building so parents feel comfortable dropping their children off at a location for afterschool activities that is familiar to them.
“I’m a man and a person of color who works with children in a predominantly white community,” he said. “I want to make sure the location was a place that made the community feel safe to have their kids at.”
Williams is looking to expand the availability for service-based youth learning activities. Other than the Center for the Arts’ annual art camp, he noted that he “doesn’t know of any other youth activities in general” in the Homer area.
“Kids are used to activities in Cortland, but it’s good to have some activities in your backyard,” he said.
Williams’ lease with the recreation building stemmed from an “exchange of goods and services” with the village of Homer’s Board of Trustees.
Village mayor Hal McCabe said in exchange for Williams leasing the building, Williams will assume public information officer duties for the village.
“My service as public information officer is being rendered in exchange for putting the rec center to good use,” Williams said.
Williams will provide a social media presence for the village, from updates/happenings in the community to any questions that residents have through the village’s online platforms.
McCabe is hopeful Williams can spread the word on vital notices, including the recurring garbage pickup issue the village is facing.
The garbage truck that goes through the village broke down on Wednesday, and was only able to pick up “about half” of the garbage loads in the village, McCabe said. McCabe added there’s also been confusion with when garbage pickup occurs following a holiday.
“I’ve seen (Highkey Science) grow through social media,” McCabe said. “I want to do the same for the village.”
“This sounds like a great idea,” said village board member Ed Finkbeiner.