McKinleyville project could be constructed by 2027
By Jackson Guilfoil for Times-Standard
On Wednesday, North Coast state Assemblymember Jim Wood presented an oversized check to the organizers behind an effort aimed at creating a senior living facility in McKinleyville.
Between the eucalyptus trees on Hiller Road — the occasional thud of falling tree limbs punctuating the background — Life Plan Humboldt accepted the check from Wood, though they still need to raise $3.8 million before reaching the amount when they can receive bond funds. The organizers plan on using the money to create a facility with 204 homes — 60 of them affordable — with wraparound services and activities such as brain health programming, social groups and medical care.
“Projects like this project are really, really important. Safe, comfortable, affordable housing for seniors is in a huge shortage in the state,” Wood said. “It’s a big deal for me to be able to hopefully give a shot in the arm to a project like this.”
In July, Life Plan Humboldt signed a purchase agreement — meaning they’ve committed to buying the land once they have the financial ability and permitting power to do so — with Anne Pierson for the 14.58-acre plot of land in McKinleyville. Ann Lindsay, Life Plan Humboldt’s president, said she expects the facility to open in August 2027.
Wood said his position on the state’s budget committee allowed him to be in the right place at the right time to secure the funds, and that going forward, the state must do more to address health care in rural communities with growing senior populations.
“I think people recognize the need for senior housing and this project just fit with what we’re trying to do statewide,” Woods said. “We have a huge housing crisis and right now, it’s even more apparent with a lot of our senior population.”
A 2022 Humboldt County Civil Grand Jury report concluded that a “silver tsunami” was headed for the county, citing the area’s aging residents. The report found that people older than 65 made up 18.6% of Humboldt County’s population and is expected to increase to 36% by the end of the decade.
Lindsay said that the McKinleyville Town Center, a mixed-use development project that includes a stretch of undeveloped land across the street from the site on Hiller Road where Life Plan Humboldt’s facility would be erected, would see a jumpstart from the completion of her project.
“We actually need $6.5 million to get to the point where you can get bond financing for the whole project and this has just catapulted us forward and we’re excited about being the economic engine behind the developing McKinleyville Town Center,” Lindsay said.
Wood added that creating healthy, safe places for seniors to live is personal for him.
“None of us is getting any younger. My mom is out of the state in an assisted living facility and it’s comforting for me to know that she’s in a good, safe place,” Wood said.
Jackson Guilfoil can be reached at 707-441-0506.