Map showing the McKinleyville property, outlined in e | Images provide by Life Plan Humboldt



After years of searching, Life Plan Humboldt (LPH) – a local nonprofit dedicated to planning, building and supporting a mixed-income senior housing community in Humboldt – has secured a location for its planned project, after signing an agreement with Anne Pierson for the 14.58-acre property south of Hiller Road in McKinleyville. 

“The contract assures that Life Plan Humboldt can finalize ownership once construction plans are approved, licensing is secured, deposits are collected from future residents, and financing is obtained,” said a press release sent to the Outpost on Thursday. 

Up until last year, LPH was very close to obtaining a 16-acre property on Foster Avenue in Arcata, which had previously been planned to house the Creek Side senior housing project. When Foster Avenue LLC decided to sell the property, LPH spent more than a year negotiating with the company to buy the property for $3 million and construct its own vision for a senior living community. But in 2022 the company instead accepted an offer from Cal Poly Humboldt, which had agreed to pay nearly double the asking price.

But despite the hiccup, LPH is now able to move full steam ahead with its planning and funding processes and, Doctor Pat Girczyc, vice president of LPH, said that the nonprofit is very excited about securing the McKinleyville property, which was the group’s second choice out of five locations that had been considered. This is also a great time to be building something like this in McKinleyville, Girczyc said, with plans for a  McKinleyville town center in the works. 

LPH presdident Ann Lindsey and property owner Ann Pierson celebrate their agreement

“This was a place we’ve been really interested in,” Girczyc told the Outpost about the McKinleyville property. “It’s more of a blessing in disguise that we didn’t get the property in the Arcata bottoms. … It’s an exciting time for McKinleyville and this project is exciting because it’s innovative for our part of the state, for our community.” 

Girczyc said that the nonprofit is currently working to complete the necessary surveys of the property, finalize design plans and start choosing an architect. Another important step LPH is working on is finding investors and raising enough money to complete the purchase of the land and move forward with construction. Realistically, Girczyc said, it will be five or six years before the project is complete. 

LPH’s employees and volunteers, including the nonprofit’s president Ann Lindsay MD, have been working since 2019 to bring a Life Plan Community to Humboldt, something that they see as filling a gap in our area’s senior housing options. Unlike an assisted living facility, a Life Plan Community offers independent living for seniors and focuses on promoting an overall healthy and active lifestyle, as well as providing a social community for its residents. 

There is still a lot of work to do before finalizing a design for the development, but initial plans include more than 200 cottages and apartments that could hold one or two people, with 60 units being set aside for low-income residents. The community will also hold a community kitchen, other common areas and lots of outdoor recreation opportunities, including parks and trails. 

Girczyc also wanted to mention that LPH is currently trying to gather feedback from potential residents on what amenities and features they would like to see included in the design. There is a move-in survey available on LPH’s website, for people to weigh in and help LPH’s plans for the community and help gauge who is interested in moving into the community once it is built. 

Girczyc said that, once built, the LPH campus will be a huge asset to the community. Not only will having a large group of people move to the area be good for businesses in McKinleyville, but establishing more housing options for seniors is a growing need amid the “Silver Tsunami.” Seniors moving into LPH will also free up other housing stock, while still allowing seniors who have family or other ties to Humboldt to be able to stay in the area if they want to move into a Life Plan Community. 

“I think that [this project] provides an opportunity for the community to preserve the experience and information of people who’ve lived and worked in the community their whole lives, and allow them to be able to stay here and continue to contribute to the community,” Girczyc said.