Categorized | Eureka

Jefferson Park Awarded Over $3 Million

Celebration set for Friday at Eureka’s Jefferson School

 

Staff Report
Humboldt Sentinel

 

From the Westside Community Improvement Association press release:

In August 2010 the Eureka City Council voted unanimously to pursue the conversion of Jefferson School into a Public Park and Community Recreation Facility as a Redevelopment project.  With the future of State Redevelopment Agencies so unsure, the City was not able to risk continuing with the plan.

In April of 2011, Westside Community Improvement Association, formally, the City’s Jefferson Committee became the successful bidder for the School site.

In June of 2011, Bill Rodstrom, Senior Planner for Redwood Community Action Agency contacted Heidi Benzonelli, President of WCIA and said “look at this funding opportunity, it looks like it was written for your project, I think we can write this.”  With less than 3 weeks ‘til deadline, Bill, Heidi and Richard Evans, Vice President of WCIA, pulled out all the stops and were able to utilize the City’s investment in planning, engineering, community scoping meetings, and develop the community’s wishes for this site into a proposal for the Jefferson Park and Community Recreation Facility.

In July 2011, escrow closed and Westside Community Improvement Association (formally the City’s Jefferson Committee) was able to secure the land.

Redwood Community Action Agency agreed to partner with the budding non-profit and help pursue the goals of preserving this 2 acre site for public use, revitalizing a neighborhood in blight and restoring common ground to the Westside.

A series of site visits and complicated grant and budget revisions ensued and once again the community came together. Songmi Sweet of Umpqua Bank, Praj White of Manhard Consulting, Marco Luna from the Humboldt County Sherriff office, Linda Atkins of Eureka City Council and actually, everyone who was asked, came to the school to show their support and offer their expertise to see this project to success. “Senator Noreen Evans and Assemblyman Wesly Chesbro both wrote letters supporting our efforts. The Office of Grants and Local Services was clearly  impressed and agreed with Bill Rodstrom, this funding was meant for projects just like this.”

And on March 28th, 2012 Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Program awarded Westside Community Improvement Association $3,305,560 to create the new Jefferson Park and Community Center in the City of Eureka through the acquisition and development of the 2 acre parcel. Plans include a playground, garden, walking paths, basketball courts, bocce courts, a public park, restrooms and parking and renovate the existing north building and portables for a community resource library, multi-purpose room, infant/toddler center, community recreation room, kitchen and restrooms.

The grant application states “parks are unique places where children can play, people can exercise, families can bond, seniors can socialize, youth can be mentored, cultures can share and celebrate their differences, and everyone can connect with nature. For these reasons, vibrant parks funded by this program will be a cost-effective means of creating humane, livable communities.”

We can not agree more!

Please join us for a press conference and community celebration beginning at 12:00 noon on Friday April 13th at Jefferson School, 1000 B Street, Eureka.

* * * * * * * *

History of the Jefferson School Project and the Westside Community Improvement Association

In 2005 due to declining citywide enrollment, Eureka City Schools closed Jefferson School, the heart of the Westside of Eureka.  Eureka’s Westside is the lowest income and highest ethnically diverse section of our city.  The Jefferson playground for over 70 years served as a place for the children to play, for families to meet, where cultural differences were shared, where conflicts were resolved and social development occurred.  When the school was closed the playground was locked. The school building fell into a state of disrepair and often vandalized. Without a park or play round the children of the Westside have only the streets and allies to play in.

The Westside holds an estimated 3,848 citizens within a half mile of Jefferson School. The number of youth is estimated at 860. It is the most densely populated neighborhood in Eureka.  Without Jefferson School and playground  there are no recreational activities or places to encourage healthy socializing. The lack of any common space can affect the heath and well-being of every resident from parents seeking a safe place to stroll with infants, young people craving recreation, to seniors and the handicapped needing exercise and companionship.

For 6 years, a group of concerned Westside residents now known as the Westside Community Improvement Association (WCIA) has held meetings and planning sessions to revitalize this neighborhood facility and convert the abandoned asphalt schoolyard into a project known as the Jefferson Park and Community Center. The  Redwood Community Action Agency ( RCAA) has supported this endeavor from the outset and the Department of Public Health has used our project as a model to present how health impact assessments can improve a projects design to benefit the community In 2011 our  group was able to raise enough money and secure financing to purchase the site.

The Westside Community Improvement Association  (WCIA) is  now in the phase of revitalizing the site, conducting  clean up parties , planning  meetings, and fundraising events. WCIA has been awarded several planning and scoping grants from local agencies and we are seeking support from California’s Pop 84 Grants for the creation of new parks.

We on the Westside are excited to be moving  forward with many committed community partners, and a well developed plan. The sense of community is growing as the realization of just how transformative a park, playground, and community center  will be to the children, elders, and families of this long neglected neighborhood.

To find out how you can help, please go to our How You Can Help page.

* * * * * * * *

Local community comments regarding the recent $3.3 million Jefferson Park and Community Center award can be found here.

(posted by Skippy Massey for the Humboldt Sentinel)

One Response to “Jefferson Park Awarded Over $3 Million”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] April, the WCIA was awarded a groundbreaking $3.3 million Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Program grant from Proposition 84 funds by [...]


Leave a Reply

HumSentinel on Twitter

RSS Progressive Review

  • Pocket paradigms
    Like a hit and run driver, America's elite has left the scene of the accident. More and more, those who run this country have the character of wealthy, isolated strangers -- armed but afraid, intrusive yet indifferent, personally profligate but politically penurious, priggish in rhetoric yet corrupt in action. No longer does national myth connect them w […]
  • Word
    The greatest right in the world is the right to be wrong. - Harry Weinberger […]
  • A speech C-SPAN didn't like
    Sam Smith1999[From 50 years of our overstocked archives: C-SPAN broadcast in 1999 the first rally in opposition to the Bosnian war with one exception: your editor's speech. C-SPAN even left in the part where a singer announced, "I'm the warm-up act for Sam Smith" but the speech itself was cut. It was during a time, incidentally, when CSPA […]
  • Colorado River Basin drying up faster than thought
    Washington Post - Seven Western states that rely on the Colorado River Basin for valuable water are drawing more heavily from groundwater supplies than previously believed, a new study finds, the latest indication that an historic drought is threatening the region’s future access to water.In the past nine years, the basin — which covers Wyoming, Colorado, Ut […]
  • The collapse of black wealth
    SlateBy the official end of the recession in 2009, median household net worth for blacks had fallen to $5,677—a generation’s worth of hard work and progress wiped out. (The number for whites, by comparison, was $113,149.) Overall, from 2007 to 2010, wealth for blacks declined by an average of 31 percent, home equity by an average of 28 percent, and retiremen […]
  • Detroit ,other cities ripping off public workers to fund stadiums
    SalonAs states and cities grapple with budget shortfalls, many are betting big on an unproven formula: Slash public employee pension benefits and public services while diverting the savings into lucrative subsidies for professional sports teams.Detroit this week became the most prominent example of this trend. Officials in the financially devastated city ann […]
  • Found in a vacant house
    […]
  • Follow the bouncing ball
    […]
  • US weapons supplied to Israel have killed more than Russian weapons spplied to Ukrainian rebels
    Truth Out - The United States exported to Israel a substantial amount of the same types of weapons Israel is using to kill Gazans, a new analysis of US Census Bureau export data reveals. For example, in 2013, the United States sent Israel at least $196 million in parts for military airplanes and helicopters, a category that includes F-16 fighter jets and Apa […]
  • Great moments in American exceptionalism
    Firedog Lake -  American exceptionalism strikes again. This time it manifested itself as the US being the only country on the United Nations Human Rights Council to vote against investigating the killing of civilians in Operation Protective Edge. The call to respect international legal restrictions on warfare and investigate whether any violations have taken […]
  • Jewish identity
    @Harpers - Percentage of American Jews who believe that following Jewish law is essential to Jewish identity: 19... Who believe that having a sense of humor is: 42 […]
  • Drought update
    NY TIMES […]
  • Study: More than half of those executed suffer from severe mental illness
    Think Progress - A majority of the 100 executed inmates examined in a new study by three legal researchers had “a severe mental illness such as schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder or psychosis.” Yet, because of an oddity in the Supreme Court’s death penalty cases, it is typically constitutional under existing precedents to execute people with these […]
  • Obama bars media from corrupt meeting with cash cows
    Politico - President Barack Obama went to the West Coast to meet donors from two top Democratic super PACs, but the press wasn’t invited.The reporters and photographers traveling with the president on Air Force One and in his motorcade were left on the gravel path not even within sight of former Costco CEO Jim Sinegal’s house in the Seattle suburbs where Oba […]
  • Washington reporters get a White House chaperon in interviews
    Paul Fahri, Washington Post - When NBC News White House reporter Chuck Todd conducts background interviews with government officials these days, he and his source usually aren’t the only ones in the room or on the call. Typically, there’s a third party: A representative of the White House’s press staff monitors the conversation.Sometimes, the press monitor i […]