McKMAC looks at Town Center ‘big picture’

McKINLEYVILLE TOWN CENTER This conceptual design by architect Kash Boodjeh shows open space/wetland areas in green. The red lines show proposed pedestrian/bicycle connections. There is no specific design for these pedestrian connections. The yellow area is the mostly developed area of the McKinleyville Town Center along Central Avenue and Heartwood Drive. Pierson Park, on the right, is also part of the Town Center. Pierson Park includes Azalea Hall (a community center, meeting venue and home to the McKinleyville Senior Center), Activity Center, Teen Center, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and the McKinleyville Library. Design by Kash Boodjeh

Jack Durham
Mad River Union

McKINLEYVILLE – The McKinleyville Town Center should bring the community together, give the town a sense of place and serve as the heart of the McKinleyville.

These were among the ideas expressed by the pubic during the Feb. 24 meeting of the McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee (McKMAC).

The county advisory committee took a break from discussing wetlands policies and reviewing draft land use maps and instead focused on the “big picture.”

The discussion was led by Michael Richardson, senior planner with the Humboldt County Planning Department, which has jurisdiction over land use in the unincorporated community.

Richardson urged the 27 participants at the meeting to consider the question: Who are we as McKinleyville, and what do we want to be 30, 40, 100 years from now?

Participants were broken into three groups during the Zoom meeting to discuss their vision for McKinleyville, then were brought back together to report what they discussed.

“We are a fairly humble community,” said resident Bonnie MacGregor. She described McKinleyville as being increasingly diverse with a strong sense of family.

“We like our environment and green space,” MacGregor said. The McKinleyville Town Center, MacGregor said, should “bring the community together with a sense of place.”

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“McKinleyville really doesn’t have a heart,” said Ann Lindsay. That statement was repeated by others at the meeting, who said the Town Center could solve this problem.

“In 40 years, I think McKinleyville is going to be built out,” said David Couch.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, McKinleyville’s population is about 17,208. If all the property in McKinleyville were developed according to the McKinleyville Community Plan, the population would be roughly 26,870.

Deborah Hubbard said she would like the McKinleyville Town Center to not lose sight of its Wiyot history. She said she doesn’t want to see ugly, big box buildings in the Town Center. Others at the meeting said they wanted a play center in the Town Center, forested areas, an upgraded McKinleyville Shopping Center and a plan that’s flexible and able to evolve.

County staff is working on a draft ordinance for the McKinleyville Town Center and may bring the document to the McKMAC in a matter of weeks. As of March 1, the McKMAC had not set a date for the next meeting.


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