Mad River Union
McKINLEYVILLE – You show up for a public meeting in Mack Town, but when you get there the door is locked and it’s dark inside. Nobody’s around. What happened?
For McKinleyville residents, there’s a good chance they got the two “Azalea” venues confused. A majority of McKinleyville governmental meetings are held at either Azalea Hall, located at Pierson Park, or the Azalea Conference Center, located behind McKinleyville Middle School.
The problem was pointed out to the McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee Nov. 30 by resident Carol Newman.
“I just think it’s causing a lot of confusion,” Newman said.
“I so agree with you,” responded committee chair Ben Shepherd.
Committee member Barbara Georgianna brought up another reason for the confusion. “Carol, people don’t read, either,” she said, noting that the meeting agendas include the facilities’ names and addresses.
The reading problem was highlighted on the McKinleyville Community Watch Facebook page prior to last week’s committee meeting, when a member announced incorrectly that the meeting would be held at Azalea Hall, rather than the actual location, the Azalea Conference Center. The mistake was later corrected.
Newman suggested that the word “Azalea” be changed to “Redwood” at one of the venues to avoid confusion.
Committee member Greg Orsini, who is the manager of the McKinleyville Community Services District, said that the district had first dibs on the name, since Azalea Hall was created before the Azalea Conference Center, which is owned by the McKinleyville Union School District.
Further confusing the matter is that McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee, which typically meets at the Azalea Conference Center, will occasionally move its meetings to the much larger Azalea Hall when it expects a larger public turnout.
The conundrum is reminiscent of confusion between Arcata's Community Center and the D Street Neighborhood Center. The latter venue is often casually referred to as the "D Street Community Center," sometimes confusing attendees who then go to the Community Center.