New park may open in McKinleyville by spring

From the Jan. 11 edition of the McKinleyville Press

school property design aerial with dimensionsBy Jack Durham
Press Editor

Sometime this spring, McKinleyville will have a new park on the south side of town.
The McKinleyville Community Services District Board of Directors voted unanimously at a special meeting Thursday, Jan. 5 to purchase three acres at the corner of School Road and Washington Avenue.
The MCSD will pay the McKinleyville Union School District $128,894 for the undeveloped site. The MCSD will most likely pay for the property using money from its general fund, A grant application with the state is pending. If the MCSD wins the grant, it would reimburse itself, thereby obtaining the acreage without any cost to the district.
After the MCSD completes a lot line adjustment with the County of Humboldt and escrow closes, work can begin on opening the property for public use. The MCSD is hoping this can happen in the spring.
MCSD Parks and Recreation Director Jason Sehon said that the first order of business is to “clear all invasive plants” including Scotch broom. The MCSD does not intend to cut down any trees, but it does need to clear the property enough so that its mower can be used about three times a year to keep the grass down, Sehon said.
The MCSD will need to consult with the County of Humboldt to determine the best location for a small parking lot, he said. Two potential “access points” have been identified – one off Washington Avenue just south of Dena Drive, the other at the south end of Oakdale Drive.
There are no immediate plans for any major recreation facilities at the park.
“I suspect natural trails will start” as people begin walking around the property, Sehon said.
There’s a possibility that the park could substantially grow and be tied into other park facilities in nearby subdivisions.
The three acres is part of a 10.3-acre parcel that’s being sold by the school district, which bought the property years ago for a campus. Later it discovered that an earthquake fault crossed the property, making it unsuitable for a new school.
The MCSD has applied for a separate state grant to purchase the remaining 7.3 acres from school district.
MCSD Manager Norman Shopay said that if the MCSD obtains a grant for the 7.3 acres, it would have to open up new property negotiations with the school district.
Both the Furtado and Santos subdivisions, under construction downhill and west of the new park, will include small park areas and trails. They may be linked to the MCSD park.
The developers of both those subdivisions will end up paying about “a couple hundred thousand dollars” in Quimby Funds, which would be available to the MCSD for park development.
The Quimby Act requires developers to provide park facilities in their subdivisions, or pay Quimby fees in lie of providing parks. There’s a formula for how large the park facilities should be based upon the number of residents in the subdivision. In the case of the Furtado and Santos subdivisions, the developers will provide a combination of facilities and fees.
Sehon said that plans for the new park will ultimately be brought before the MCSD’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee and the MCSD Board of Directors.

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