Daily Archives: January 9, 2013

RAMBLING AROUND TOWN: We need to stop futzing around and get this skate park built

From the 1.9.13 Opinion page

By Jack Durham

Press Editor & Reporter

The first meeting of the McKinleyville Skate Park Organization, before the group even had a name, was held in the McKinleyville Press office about a dozen years ago. We got together and declared our intent to build a park right here in McKinleyville. We were enthusiastic and it seemed like our vision would become a reality within a short amount of time.

ramblingbox.But the years went by and nothing happened. Sure, we raised a little money and created a design, but that’s about it. The young skaters who enthusiastically attended those first meetings grew up and moved away. They never got their skate park. People came and went from the organization. The leadership changed many times. The last skate park committee meeting I attended was about a decade ago.

The McKinleyville Skate Park Organization is still toiling away today, with a small, committed group of volunteers who are keeping the dream alive. They’re slowly raising funds and hoping, against all odds, to build the park.

But there’s a problem. A big problem.

The design for the skate park is estimated to cost from $400,000 to $500,000 for phase one.  Meanwhile, the MSPO has raised about $40,000. That’s a lot of clams, but not even close to what’s needed to build a park. At the current rate of fund raising, it will take about a century to raise the half million dollars needed to build a skate park. By the time that money is raised, we’ll all be dead. That plan sucks, don’t you agree?

So let’s change the plan. This is going to require some radical thinking. Here is what we need to do:

Take the existing design for the McKinleyville Skate Park, roll it up and put it in a cardboard tube. Insert a stick of dynamite. Light the fuse, Run like hell and never look back.

Convene a special meeting of the McKinleyville Recreation Advisory Committee. On the agenda: Plan for building a skate park in McKinleyville. The committee needs to start with a budget. How much money is available for the skate park? The McKinleyville Community Services District has access to what are called Quimby Funds. This is money, paid by developers, dedicated to parks improvements. The MCSD could afford to dedicate at least $25,000 in Quimby Funds towards a skate park, or maybe even $50,000. If the McKinleyville Skate Park Organization wants to participate, it could chip in its $40,000, which would give the district from $65,000 to $90,000 for a skate park. The Recreation Committee could then design a skate park around this budget, get approval from the McKinleyville Community Services District Board of Directors and have the park built at Pierson Park.

Construction could begin this summer. Theoretically. Actually, with the death of McKinleyville Community Services District Manager Norman Shopay, district staff is overloaded with work right now. So building a skate park six months from now is probably asking too much. Maybe we could begin the design work and plan on breaking ground in the summer of 2014.

But.. but.. but… what about that wonderful half-million-dollar skate park design created by the Tony Hawk Foundation? What about its awesomeness? Why can’t we have a Cadillac skate park?

That design is a beautiful dream, but we don’t have the money for it.

Maybe we could include some of its design elements in the new budget-conscious skate park plan. Maybe we can envision our new skate park as “Phase 1,” with additional elements added at a later date, when funds become available and pigs fly.

Either way, let’s get this thing done. This is going to require leadership. That leadership needs to come from the McKinleyville Community Services District, not the non-profit McKinleyville Skate Park Organization (MSPO).

No offense to the MSPO. It’s a great group of volunteers. But they don’t have the time or resources to build the skate park themselves. They need help. The MCSD can get this done.

Hopefully, the MSPO will be amenable to the idea of building a smaller, more modest skate park at Pierson Park. The $40,000 they’ve raised would go a long way towards realizing the dream.

But what if the MSPO sticks with its half-million-dollar design? Then it’s time to move on. McKinleyville deserves skate park today, not 20 to 50 to 100 years from now.

Let’s build this thing. Now!

What are your thoughts? Email them to news@mckinleyvillepress.com.

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by | January 9, 2013 · 10:17 am

Trinidad council looks at road projects, harbor lease

By Jack Durham

Press Editor & Reporter

 

The Trinidad City Council will consider two roadway improvement projects at its meeting Wednesday, Jan. 9 at Trinidad Town Hall, 409 Trinity St. The meeting begins at 7 p.m.

The council will consider improving Azalea Way and Pacific Street to bring them up to city standards.

The roads would be widened and paved, with curbs and gutters installed. Drainage systems and trees would also be installed.

According to a report from city staff, Azalea Way would be widened from nine feet to 20 feet, and paved with asphalt concrete and grass pavers. Pacific Street, now gravel, would be paved.

The project would be paid for with up to $423,000 in State Transportation Improvement Program funds.

The council may vote at the meeting to put the projects out to bid. A bid would be awarded in March, with construction to begin in May.

Harbor lease

Also at tonight’s meeting, the council is scheduled to consider a harbor lands lease agreement with the Trinidad Rancheria.

The City of Trinidad owns much of the land around the harbor, as well as the harbor itself. The Trinidad Rancheria owns the pier and adjacent lands.

The Rancheria runs the harbor and leases harbor land from the city. The two entities had a lease agreement that was approved in January 2004. It expired in January 2011.

Under the new agreement, the Rancheria would pay the city $5,000 a year to lease the harbor lands. In the third year of the lease, the payment would be adjusted based on the consumer price index, with an increase or decrease of no more than two percent.

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MCSD to hold meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 15

The McKinleyville Community Services District will hold its January board meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 15, at Azalea Hall.

A closed session is scheduled for 6 p.m. and the regular meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.  The agenda will be posted on Friday, Jan. 11 by 5 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Human Rights Commission Considers Restroom Issue

From the 1.2.13 issue

 

By Daniel Mintz

Press Reporter

 

The county’s Human Rights Commission has gotten numerous comments about lack of public restrooms and is working on identifying how many there actually are and where.

The restroom inventory is part of an annual report that covers the one-year period through June 2012. Dave Heise, who was the commission’s chairman, summarized the report at the Dec. 18 Board of Supervisors meeting.

Asked about the public restroom issue, he said that people have “intermittently” been at commission meetings to comment about “a perceived lack of public restrooms in the county.” He added, “At some point, we heard enough of those to look at that.”

Heise said commission members decided to find out the actual number of restrooms in the county and its cities. They expected that it would be easy to determine but found that wasn’t the case, he continued.

“We actually had to try to compile that ourselves,” Heise said. “One of the things we found was that that information really isn’t well known – the first response we get is, ‘We don’t know, let’s look into it.’ ”

The commission compiled a list of restrooms that are available to the public, although many are in restaurants and other customer-serving businesses. Supervisor Mark Lovelace said an important step is to determine where the need is greatest.

Supervisor Rex Bohn said public restrooms represent a considerable maintenance expense. He said it will be easier to establish public restrooms “if we can find a way to cure that problem.”

Heise said the “next step” will be getting an accurate inventory of restrooms and checking on what other counties and cities are doing.

Other concerns the commission took up during the year included availability of health care, the level of public participation in the county’s General Plan Update and the effects of the county’s urgency ordinance restricting protest activity on county property.

The commission-recommended Law Enforcement Liaison committee also gained enough members to be formed.

 

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