New parks to open in 2013

From the 1.9.13 edition

By Jack Durham

Press Editor & Reporter


Two new parks will open in McKinleyville this year – one on the banks of the Mad River, the other near the corner of School Road and Washington Avenue.

In addition, Pierson Park will get a new covered picnic area, and the final design should be completed for the proposed teen center.

McKinleyville Parks and Recreation Director Jason Sehon discussed some of the improvements during an interview last week.

Mad River park

The MCSD now owns 33 acres of riverfront property south of the intersection of North Bank Road and Azalea Avenue. However, the County of Humboldt owns property between the new park and North Bank Road.

The MCSD, Sehon said, is working with the county to obtain access over its property.

“Once we obtain access, our goal is to open it up,” Sehon said.

There’s a small, makeshift parking area on the property and there are existing trails.

Sometime in the spring, when things dry up, Sehon said he wants to organize a public tour of the property.

While the initial goal is to just get the property opened up to the public, there are all sorts improvements that could be pursued in future years.

There may be grant funding available for a boat launch, Sehon said. The area  would also be ideal for a disk golf course. Sehon has previously mentioned creating a gazebo or other facilities that could be used for parties, weddings and special events.

Washington Ave. park property

For more than a year, the McKinleyville Community Services District has worked to purchase three acres of property for a park near School Road and Washington Avenue. The deal has been held up by a lot line adjustment that needed to be processed through the county Planning Department.

But by the end of this month, the MCSD should own the property, which wraps around behind the house located at the northwest corner of the intersection.

As with the Mad River park, the first order of business with the Washington property is to create public access. The MCSD hasn’t figured where the access point will be for the property, which touches McKinleyville Avenue, School Road and a street in the new subdivision to the west.

Sehon said that the MCSD will consult with the California Fish & Wildlife Department regarding the removal of invasive plant species. The property will be mowed. People can hike the trails and walk their dogs.

The property was sold to the MCSD for $128,000 by the McKinleyville Union School District. The MUSD purchased the land years ago for a possible campus, but it was later discovered that the property contains an earthquake fault.

The MCSD paid for the property using Quimby Funds, which are paid by developers to help fund recreational facilities.

Covered picnic area

The district plans to build a large covered picnic area at Pierson Park. It would be located between the bocce ball courts/horseshoe pits and the playground, in an area that was previously occupied by a modular office building.

The picnic area will cost about $50,000. Preliminary designs call for a 25 foot by 60 foot covered picnic area. However, that may be scaled back so the project can be built within the budget.

The modular office building, which was used as a caretaker’s residence in the mid-1990s when the park was first built, has been moved to an area between the McKinleyville Sheriff’s Office and the McKinleyville Library. Half of the building is used by the California Conservation Corps in exchange for providing services to the MCSD. The other half us used as a break room for the Sheriff’s Office.

Teen Center

This year will be one of planning and design for the proposed teen center. The architect is has met with teens and is working on the design, including several different options for a commercial kitchen.

The design will be brought back to the MCSD and reviewed by staff, teens, the McKinleyville Recreation Advisory Committee and, ultimately, the MCSD Board of Directors.

The MCSD hopes to finish the design process this year. In spring of 2014, it hopes to break ground on the project.


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