Valley West reinvention proceeding steadily thanks to APD/community alliance

MONTHLY MISSION Valley Westers Janelle Classen, Sam Hamilton and Allan Renger staffed the hospitality table/central command center near Valley West Park for Sunday’s monthly cleanup effort. More photos of Sunday's effort below. Photos by KLH | Union

Kevin L. Hoover
Mad River Union

VALLEY WEST – Arcata’s long-underserved northern neighborhood is getting a lot of attention from City Hall lately, but its residents aren’t missing the opportunity to bootstrap themselves and their community into new selfhood and self-improvement.

Volunteers with pluckers, buckets and brooms fanned out across Arcata’s northern ’burb, powered by coffee from Riptide Café, which provides unlimited, highly motivating caffeination services. The burgeoning clean-up campaign may become more of a community celebration with warming weather. Volunteer Janelle Classen said there is talk of adding ice tea and even grilling. 

“It makes a difference,” she said.  

Businesses meet again

Also making a difference are the monthly meetings between Arcata Police and area businesses. They, along with citizens and groups like John Shelter's New Directions have connected and cleaned up chronic messes and dysfunction in the area.

At a January meeting at the Hampton Inn, businesspeople clamored for increased police presence to address the loitering and trespassing that was making life hard for business folk and generally degrading the quality of life in Valley West. 

At last week’s meeting, attendees offered Police Chief Brian Ahearn praise for the stepped-up effort. 

Conditions at the Valley West Shopping Center have drastically improved, and police response times are much quicker, merchants said. That may be why attendance at the meeting was way down from the previous month.

“We’re dedicating a lot of resources here, and that’s going to continue,” Ahearn said. “Were in this for the long haul, and we’ll continue to chip away at it.”

The Valley West Business Watch meets Thursday, March 28 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Hampton Inn, 4750 Valley West Boulevard. This meeting will duplicate the one held on February 28, with a presentation from Ginger Campbell of the Arcata Police Department Business Watch Program.


Arcata House Partnership volunteers Laurel, Taber and Charles scour the Valley East Boulevard sidewalk.

Volunteers Finn Endsley and Willa Grant pluck up litter.

Police Chief Brian Ahearn and City Councilmember Paul Pitino heft buckets.


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