The Clarke Plaza in Old Town will likely be getting a new addition soon, one slightly more dignified than the potential carousel plan we wrote about a couple of months ago. The Eureka City Council will be voting next week to approve the installation of a firefighters’ memorial statue in the plaza.
Humboldt Bay Fire approached the city a while ago about finding a place for the memorial. After discussing some options, the city determined that Clarke Plaza on Third and E Streets would be the best option. One of the reasons, according to the staff report, is because of the plaza’s fire history.
In 1959 a large fire broke out in the buildings that once stood on the lot. Several firefighters and one resident were hurt and several businesses were damaged. The buildings were eventually torn down in the 1960s and the Plaza was built in 1973.
The other reason the Clarke Plaza was chosen is because of its proximity to the Clarke Museum. Eureka Community Services Director Miles Slattery told the Outpost that the Museum is working with Humboldt Bay Fire to develop a rotating exhibit dedicated to public safety. The memorial could compliment this exhibit.
The current design for the memorial includes a sculpture of a firefighter’s clothes on top of a cement pedestal, which will contain the names of several Humboldt firefighters who died in the line of duty. The design also includes the potential addition of a bench and a flagpole next to the statue, as well as some kind of 24-hour lighting.
Funding for the memorial will come completely from money raised by Humboldt Bay Fire through donations.
In other business, the council will also be discussing leasing the vacant lot directly across from the Wharfinger Building on Marina Way and Waterfront Drive to Englund Marine and Industrial Supply. If all goes as planned, the company would move from its current location at the end of Commercial Street and build a new storefront on the lot.
Slattery told the Outpost that the city has a vision for a market development on the property — which would include development of multiple businesses and storefronts on the lot. Because Englund Marine only requires about one acre for its business, there would still be space to develop there. Also, the revenue generated from the lease could be used to help fund further developments and improvements to the site.
This plan is still in the very early stages. If the council gives its approval at the meeting, then the city would enter into an exclusive negotiation agreement with Englund Marine and begin working out the lease details. The negotiation agreement lasts for a year, but Slattery said he doubts it will take close to that much time, as the company is eager to move to a bigger space.
Slattery is excited for the potential of development on the longtime vacant lot, which people have used for a lot of “inappropriate activities,” including drinking and injecting drugs.
“It’s been a blighted property for years,” Slattery said. “Having a presence there will help deter those activities.”
The Eureka City Council will discuss these and other important issues at its meeting Tuesday, July 16 at 6 p.m. at Eureka City Hall — 531 K Street.
You can view the full agenda here.