Mad River Union
McKINLEYVILLE – The town’s proposed Teen & Community Center received an enthusiastic thumbs up recently from McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee (McKMAC).
The McKinleyville Community Services District recently decided that the $1.8 million project should be reviewed by the McKMAC, so a presentation was given at the committee’s Feb. 26 meeting.
MCSD Parks & Recreation Director Jason Sehon explained to the committee how the project came about.
The MCSD did extensive surveys and found that there was a desire in town to have a teen center. So the MCSD went to McKinleyville Middle School and talked to students there. They were enthusiastic about the idea, and came up with several ideas for the center. One of them was for a building with a swimming pool on the roof with water slides coming down and wrapping around the structure.
Although that idea was rejected, the MCSD has had continuing discussions with teens about the design.
Sehon said that the teens told the MCSD “We don’t want it to look like school, we don’t want it to look like home.”
The proposed design now includes a sound-proof music room, a large room with pool tables and games, a teen cafe, a covered outdoor performance area, and a commercial kitchen where classes can be held.
The 6,000-square-foot center will be built on to the west side of the McKinleyville Activity Center at Pierson Park.
With the adjacent commercial kitchen, the Activity Center could be used for large banquets and other special events where food is served.
As for the demand for a teen center, Sehon noted that the MCSD Parks and Recreation Department recently held a dance for middle school kids. There were a whopping 380 students in attendance. The MCSD used the event to get further input on the teen center design.
The MCSD plans to put the project out to bid this summer. Construction could begin later this year.
The project is funded by Measure B, a property tax approved by voters in 1992, and re-approved in 2011. Parcels in McKinleyville with a single family home pay $30 a year. The money is earmarked for building and maintaining recreational facilities.
The McKMAC voted unanimously in support of the teen center.
“I am absolutely thrilled by this project,” declared McKMAC Chair Ben Shepherd.