MCSD looks to bring in dollars for projects

Jack Durham
Mad River Union

McKINLEYVILLE – The McKinleyville Community Services District is applying for a slew of grants to pay for everything from new water tanks, an emergency generator, a new waterline under the Mad River and a plan for managing a proposed community forest.

The grant applications were unanimously approved by the MCSD Board of Directors at its Nov. 4 meeting.

New water tanks

The district is seeking grant funding from the California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) to replace two 50-year-old water tanks on McCluski Hill in the Hewitt Road area. 

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“The tanks are in relatively good shape but are 50-years old and the expertise for the maintenance of redwood tanks is fading,” states a MCSD staff report. “The tanks should be replaced before they need to be replaced and would likely be replaced by two 200,000 gallon boltedsteel tanks. A detailed cost estimate for this project has not yet been developed but would likely be in the $1.0M range with a District match of $250,000.”

Water line

The district is also applying for a CalOES grant to build a redundant water line under the Mad River. McKinleyville receives its entire water supply through a single line that runs under the Mad River and connects to the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District, the area’s wholesale water supplier.

MCSD board members and staff are concerned about the vulnerability of the line. In the event of an earthquake or other natural disaster, the water line could break, cutting off the town’s water supply.

A new water line is expected to cost about $3.1 million, with the district providing a $775,000 match.

Fire management plan

The district is applying for a CalOES grant to develop forest and forest fire management plans for the proposed community forest, Hewitt Preserve and Hiller Park areas.

TMcKinleyville doesn’t have a community forest yet, but MCSD management is optimistic that it will obtain $4 million from the State of California Natural Resource Agency to acquire 550 acres on the east side of town from Green Diamond.

The MCSD board would like to develop a forest management plan for the proposed community forest. It would also like to remove dead trees from both Hiller Park and the Hewitt Preserve. The district might also improve access to the Hewitt Preserve so firefighters can better access the site, located off Hewitt Road.

The project is estimated to cost $200,000 to $300,000.

During a discussion of the project, MCSD Director Dennis Mayo volunteered to contact the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Work Alternative Program (SWAP) regarding the dead trees. The SWAP program allows low-risk offenders to work off their sentences rather than face confinement. One of the SWAP programs involves chopping firewood, which is sold to seniors at a discounted price.

Fire hydrants

The district is applying for a CalOES grant to replace 97 fire hydrants throughout McKinleyville. The new hydrants would all have pumper nozzles.

The district budgets $7,000 a year for fire hydrant replacement and has an agreement with the Arcata Fire District to provide matching funds. But AFD has struggled financially and has been unable to fund the hydrant replacement.

“The Fire District typically does not have sufficient funds to provide their match, and the work does not get done,” states a MCSD staff report.

The hydrant replacement project would cost about $500,000, with the MCSD providing a $125,000 match.

The process

MCSD Manager Patrick Kaspari said that the CalOES grant applications involve a multi-stage process. The first step is a simple application with a project description and estimated cost. CalOES would then determine whether the project is something that might qualify for a grant 

If the project qualifies, then the MCSD would need to submit a highly detailed grant application. These applications would include a cost-benefit analsyis prepared by an engineer, along with environmental documents.

Each application could cost $20,000 to prepare. Kaspari said that if CalOES approves the initial applications, the MCSD board will need to decide which projects to pursue.







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