Times Standard (Eureka)
Public input sought for the Valley West project
Over the coming months, Arcata city officials and members of Cooperation Humboldt will hold a series of meetings for Valley West residents to weigh in on a beautification project for their neighborhood.
The first meeting, which will be done via Zoom on Jan. 27, will focus on brainstorming a project. There will be two in-person meetings — though voting will be both online and in-person — on Feb. 3 and March 10, with the former for additional brainstorming and the latter for residents to vote on which proposal they like the most. The in-person sessions will be at the Red Roof Inn at 4975 Valley West Blvd. in Arcata.
The project, which is being done through Cooperation Humboldt’s Comunidad Unida del
Norte de Arcata group, will have $15,000 at their disposal for whatever idea residents collectively agree upon.
“It directly focuses on the residents, the people who are going to be most affected, so it’s a way of deepening democracy and making it more direct, not just something you do every four years when you vote in a new city councilor for your ward,” said Morgan March, the participatory budgeting coordinator at Cooperation Humboldt.
March added that the participatory budgeting program is a pilot and said he looks forward to seeing more programs of its type throughout the greater community should it find success in Arcata.
The project could facilitate a number of ideas community members pitch at the meetings, where it will eventually be narrowed down into a final agreement. The funds will come from Arcata’s general fund, according to March.
This is the first round of the participatory budgeting program. A later program will use $30,000 of American Rescue Plan Act dollars for an additional project.
“This is a pilot project to show the residents, officials of Humboldt County, and city governments how to implement these kinds of direct democratic processes, letting residents have a voice on how public money is spent,” David Cobb, executive director of Cooperation Humboldt said in a press release.
For the Zoom link to participate in the first meeting, residents may email March at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kimberley White at kaw2@ humboldt.edu.