A plan for the site released on Friday includes mid- and high-density housing, a large modern hotel and condos, a “railroad plaza” with a larger and relocated depot, a museum, and a large market space. producers and other events.

In addition, there are living / working units, an inn, a mixed-use trade, a Pomo education center, an open space with decorative paths and ponds, and a flagship restaurant.

“It’s an opportunity to really work with the community and to come out with something that people are proud of,” said Pinoli.

However, city officials are unanimously opposed to this move and say the best way to reflect the community’s vision is to ensure community representation and oversight through public ownership.

They also question the railroad’s need for a lot more land when their current operation spans 4 acres.

Some also suggest that the company is trying to tie all kinds of independent developments to rail operations to avoid oversight.

In a meeting Monday, Councilor Lindy Peters noted that over years of meetings and workshops on the future of beachfront property, “what I have heard time and time again , it is: “It has been a one-company town for quite a long time. “”

Community plans for the site had clustered around a vision for the site as a hub of innovation focused on sustainable ocean ecosystems, climate change, fisheries, renewable energy, tourism and wildlife. transport.

The city had previously acquired a strip of land along the edge of the property equal to 107 acres, between Glass Beach and Mackerricher State Park to the north and the Noyo River to the south.

Today Noyo Headlands Park and Coastal Trail, it will eventually serve as the new headquarters of the Noyo Center for Marine Science.

Morsell-Haye said the city is close to finalizing its own deal with Georgia-Pacific for the rest of the real estate, working with several other agencies, including State Parks and the Sherwood Pomo Indian Band. Valley, to lose to the railroad.

A host of agencies were in talks to remedy millions of dollars in environmental clean-up still required at the site. The collaborators had also hoped to restore two streams that had been diverted into buried pipes to supply the mill pond. They also planned to restore the mouth of Pudding Creek at the north end.

After almost three years, they had come to a verbal agreement for Georgia-Pacific to donate the land in exchange for not having any environmental liability at the site, Morsell-Haye said.

The city was doing due diligence and had just pulled out $ 3.5 million in bond funds to prove to the State Department of Toxics Control that it was ready to meet the environmental needs of the site when news that Georgia- Pacific had settled with Mendocino Railway arrived, she mentioned.

Georgia-Pacific was also prepared to cede the Pudding Creek land across town to the state park system, making it free and open to the public. This property will now only be accessible to Skunk Train ticket holders, they fear.

“We were so close,” Morsell-Haye said.

The city, which has supported Skunk Train grant applications in the past, unanimously approved a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation on Monday opposing the company’s offer for $ 21 million in funding for rehabilitation and improvement of railways.

The money would be used to repair a collapsed tunnel between Fort Bragg and Willits and other projects. The letter argues that the loan application “perpetuates the lie that the railway is a public transit service, allowing it to strategically claim exemption from local and state regulations and use powers such as the eminent domain to diversify its holdings well beyond rail operations ”.

State Senator Mike McGuire said by email that he was sorry to see the land transferred to the railroad when the city had “a comprehensive plan to clean up this property, involve the community and develop it into something. good for all residents “.

“It doesn’t matter who owns the land,” said McGuire, D-Healdsburg, “The State of California will ensure that it is properly cleaned in accordance with California environmental quality standards and that the Coast Commission and other agencies state review any development proposal to move forward.

He did not specify how this would be handled, however.

You can reach editor Mary Callahan at 707-521-5249 or [email protected] On Twitter @MaryCallahanB.

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