Creamery District Gets Headwaters Grant – October 28, 2012

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Daniel Mintz

Eye Correspondent

CREAMERY DISTRCT – The effort to create an arts district in the area of Arcata’s Old Creamery building continues to gain momentum and funding, with a $25,000 county Headwaters Fund grant being the latest milestone.

It will augment $50,000 of funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. The county’s grant covers expenses for community visioning meetings and organization of an arts festival.

Described as a “neighborhood redevelopment project” in the Headwaters grant application, the Creamery District Project will build on the presence of the Arcata Playhouse and plan for revitalization based on promotion of the arts.

The Arcata Playhouse leads the effort and its planning team includes Greenway Partners, Holly Yashi, Tomas Jewelers, Boodjeh Architects, the Redwood Raks dance studio and the owners of the Creamery Building.

The grant application was for $45,000 and included funding for staff but the Headwaters Fund Board recommended funding planning efforts only. The downscaled grant was approved at the Oct. 16 Board of Supervisors meeting and Jacqueline Dandeneau, the Arcata Playhouse’s executive director, told supervisors that the playhouse has “picked up a ball that’s been rolling for 30 years” in spearheading the organization of an “arts and commerce district.”

She added that development of an arts culture is aligned with the Headwaters Fund’s economic growth goals. “We really believe that the arts are a solid economic driver in this county,” she said. “We want to build a district where the arts aren’t seen as a leech on businesses but really brings things to the community in terms of tourism and quality of life.”

The Playhouse has already held community visioning, artists’ roundtable and design charrette events, and “focus group” meetings with artists and property owners in the area will follow.

Aquaculture, too

Also among the Headwaters Fund grant recipients is the Humboldt Aquaculture Innovation  Center, which is led by the Redwood Region Economic Development Commission.

A $70,000 grant was approved for a collaborative effort to establish a pilot land-based aquaculture facility on the Samoa Peninsula.

It will demonstrate the viability of aquaponics, which is described in the grant application as “the symbiotic cultivation of plants and aquatic animals in a recirculating environment,” a process that can convert fish waste into plant food.

It will be the first step in establishing an “aquaculture business park” dedicated to cultivation of freshwater and saltwater fish and shellfish.

According to the grant application, “The ultimate goal is to diversify the Humboldt County economy by providing master-permitted facilities for start-up and existing entrepreneurs who want to develop commercially viable, environmentally sound and culturally sensitive land-based aquaculture businesses.”