TONIGHT AT EUREKA CITY COUNCIL: The city is looking to free up a cluster of properties to develop more housing, including two car parks behind the Lost Coast Brewery which will be converted into ‘EaRTH Centre’ | Lost Coast Outpost
As part of the City of Eureka’s plans to convert a collection of city-owned properties into affordable housing, the Eureka City Council will consider releasing a lot of properties to be used for development, including two parking lots on lots on Third Street – behind the Lost Coast Brewery – to be developed into a large transit center surrounded by housing units.
The Eureka Regional Transit & Housing Center, or EaRTH Center, was proposed by the Humboldt Transit Authority (HTA) last year. At a meeting on November 16, the council reached an agreement with HTA to collaborate on the development of housing and a transit center on the site. According to an information leaflet sent to the Outpost by City Manager Miles Slattery, the proposed project would consist of two buildings and contain a transit hub, businesses and 31 residential units – 15 or so that would be four-bedroom apartments used for student housing, 4 one-bedroom apartments room for “itinerant nurses and doctors”. and 12 one-bedroom apartments for other staff.
“The EaRTH Center will provide apartments for Eureka’s resident workforce and students,” the flyer reads. “These apartments will provide much-needed support to the Eureka Regional Housing Needs Assessment and to the colleges and universities that serve our community.
The Transit Center would include bus stops with dedicated Cal Poly Humboldt routes, taxi loading/unloading areas, rideshare loading/unloading (such as Uber and Lyft), Zipcar car shares, rental car facilities and secure bike storage, bike hire and repair. The proposal also includes plans for a daycare center, an on-site pharmacy, a pedestrian plaza with outdoor dining and space for food trucks, and a rooftop terrace.
Many different companies and groups will contribute to the project, including HTA, the Schatz Energy Research Center, and property development and management firm Servitas, which has built student housing for colleges across the country. Funding for the project will come from a combination of grants obtained by HTA and “private matching funds from a tax-exempt bond,” which will be obtained by Citi.
You can view the full review of the proposed project here and attend a public meeting to provide your feedback on Wednesday, February 9 at 6 p.m.
In addition to the Third Street parking lots, council will vote to release eight other city-owned lots for development into housing to meet the city’s regional housing needs assessment outlined in the master plan. Four of those sites — one at 1200 West Harris and three near Fairfield between Harris and Harrison — were recently acquired by the City through a land swap with the Pierson Company, approved by council last month. Two of the sites—one at 1808 Sixth Street and another at Broadway and McCullans—are vacant city-owned land, and two of the sites are parking lots at the corner of Fifth and D Streets and Sixth and L Streets.
Eureka Art & Culture COVID Grant Program
In other matters, the council will also consider the creation of a Eureka Art & Culture COVID grant program, which will provide funding to arts and culture-related entities that have been economically impacted by the pandemic.
Funding for the program will come from $130,000 of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds set aside by the city. The program will provide up to $7,500 to non-profit organizations, museums, cinemas, performance venues, art galleries, or performing arts organizations to fund their continued operation.
To be eligible, the business or organization must be able to demonstrate a 20% reduction in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which will be verified by comparing 2019 and 2020 tax documents. To learn more, click here.
Eureka Small Business Rent Relief Bridge Program
Using additional funds from ARPA, the city is also looking to establish a rental assistance program for small businesses. This program can also provide Eureka business owners with funding of up to $7,500 to help them continue their operations. But, unlike the arts and culture grant, this one is focused on the financial impacts of the recent surge in COVID cases. Using $500,000 from ARPA, the money will be allocated to small businesses in Eureka to cover unpaid or pending rent from January 1, 2022 through April 30, 2022.
For-profit or non-profit businesses that have been negatively impacted by the pandemic may apply if they have experienced a reduction of 20% or more in revenue as a result of the pandemic, are located in Eureka, if the business owner the business lives in Humboldt County, the business has 20 or fewer full-time employees, and has been in operation since March 1, 2022. Learn more about this grant program here.
The Eureka City Council will discuss these and other important matters tonight (Tuesday, Feb. 1) at 6 p.m. You can view the full agenda and instructions for joining the meeting here.