by Bob Doran
A chain link fence surrounds most of Sandpiper Park, the unfinished mobile home park on South G Street in Arcata. The exception is a row of five houses facing the street where work is complete. Only the corner home is occupied. Two more have "sold" signs in their windows, but one of the low income buyers who signed up to buy a unit just backed out of the deal, the agency working on funding the park was told Friday morning.
"Essentially the project is disintegrating," said David Loya, Arcata's community development deputy director. In the newest complication, he said, Coast Central Credit Union has put the brakes on further loans to buy the mobile homes because of funding disputes between the state and the successor to Arcata's now-dead redevelopment agency.
The man behind Sandpiper, Maurice Priest, president of Resident Owned Parks Inc. is still hoping the state will reverse its position and allot the $500,000 needed to pay off contractors and complete the mobile home park. He stopped by Sandpiper last week to talk with future park manager Bob Hurney about what to do next. Porch steps were missing from the caged units; the lumber to build them was piled in the central parking area. Steps or not, Priest wanted Hurney to get address numbers onto each unit. Because he's worried that news about the park's financial troubles will hurt sales, he hired an advertising company to create a television commercial for the park to run on Humboldt cable channels.
While he's waiting for Arcata to work out its disagreement with the California Department of Finance, Priest is weighing his options. The almost complete project clearly has value, and he's certain he could leverage that to find other funding somewhere, although he's not sure where.
In Arcata City Council chambers Friday, Loya laid out options for the committee. Send off an official response to the state's rejection of a request to retain $2.4 million allotted for the Sandpiper project and hope the bureaucrats realize "they've erred in their decision." Plan B: "Lodge a formal complaint with Starfleet Command."
The successor agency oversight committee opted for Plan A.