McKinleyville gets almost $200K for bike/ped plan

Jack Durham
Mad River Union

MCKINLEYVILLE – Humboldt County Public Works has received nearly $200,000 in grant funds to plan for bicycle and pedestrian improvements in the unincorporated community of McKinleyville.

The effort to obtain the $196,700 Caltrans Sustainable Transportation Planning Grant was led by the Redwood Community Action Agency on behalf of the county.

The money will be used  to create what’s being called a “McKinleyville Multimodal Connections Project Plan,” which will identify options for enhanced safety and connectivity for walking and biking between McKinleyville and north Arcata and to the McKinleyville Town Center.

The project will involve a series of public workshops, as well as mapping and data collection. The plan will ultimately include specific proposed improvements and a strategy for getting them built.

The workshops will begin this fall and will include the McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee (McKMAC).

“We’re working for a safer ability to move through our community,” said McKMAC member Mary Burke at the committee’s June 24 meeting.

Orsini’s last McKMAC meeting?

Last week’s McKMAC meeting marked Greg Orsini’s last meeting as the manager representative of the McKinleyville Community Services District.

Greg Orsini

One seat on the advisory committee is set aside for the manager of the MCSD. Orsini is retiring from MCSD, with his last day on July 17. Orsini is currently co-managing the district with his replacement, Patrick Kaspari, who was previously the district engineer for the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District.

Orsini’s fellow committee members praised him for his service and his governmental expertise. One member suggested that perhaps he should be appointed to the committee in the future.

“It’s been a pleasure to serve on the McKMAC,” Orsini said at the meeting. “We’re a very diverse group of people and we’re able to find common ground.”

Orsini said he still plans to be active in community affairs.

“In the immortal words of George Wheeler, I’ll be ‘in the folding chairs.’ I’m not going anywhere,” said Orsini, referring to former MCSD Director Wheeler, who died Feb. 5. 

Kaspari will take over the manager seat on the McKMAC at its next meeting on July 29. 

‘Holding pattern’

Efforts to create a McKinleyville Town Center Master Plan are temporarily on hold.

McKMAC member Bonnie Oliver reported that on June 3, a subcommittee met with Greg Pierson and architect Kash Boodje.

Pierson, whose family owns the McKinleyville Shopping Center and the undeveloped land behind it, showed them a conceptual plan he has for the property.

The plan, as well as information from a survey and community meetings, will help Boodje complete a series of drawings showing what the Town Center might look like.

Those drawings will be brought to the McKMAC and will be available online and the community will be asked what they like or don’t like.

Oliver said that Boodje’s father recently died and the architect had to go out of town to attend to matters, so the process is delayed.

“I think we are in a holding pattern,” Oliver said.

Campsite for houseless people

Discussions on creating a temporary campsite for houseless people are ongoing.

McKMAC member Barbara Georgianna  said there are an estimated 80 to 120 people without housing in McKinleyville.

At the last McKMAC meeting, there was talk about having a town hall meeting about discussing solutions. Georgianna said that after much talk, subcommittee members are questioning whether such a meeting would be effective.

Fifth District Supervisor Steve Madrone said that what’s needed is a place for a camp and money.


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