$3 Million grant for Jefferson School
Press release below.
$3,305,560 for Jefferson
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.