In this town that we call Home

10 Nov

I want to finish talking about the parklets discussion because I think it’s a good example of how council and staff do business. At the Monday (11/7) Internal Affairs Committee meeting, the committee (Reynolds, O’Brien and Tandon) approved Option 2 for the parklets plan –

2) Direct staff to analyze downtown parking needs and make a recommendation on whether to expand the Outdoor Café program to include Parklets. Authorize the use of the remaining ARP funding allocated for Parklets to update the City’s parking study and potentially develop a Parklets program

I’m sensing that I’m not the only skeptic – I think they’re getting some outrage from Downtown business owners who are losing parking spaces. Forty-two parking spaces, so far. I’ll guess, given past conversations, that they’re also hearing from residents who are sick of shoppers being pushed out of the Downtown core, taking spaces in the neighborhoods, even blocking alleys and driveways.

Here’s Kasey Reynold’s take on it – “here ‘we’ have gotten comfortable driving right up to the front door of a business…” She opined that people in Chico have “become too comfortable in their cars“. She also announced plans to tear up Downtown streets for new sewer pipes within the next couple of years, and a push for a new parking structure Downtown. She also dropped an interesting fact – vacancies are up Downtown – according to Reynolds, “we have a lot of empty buildings Downtown right now…

No, your street was never mentioned, neither was mine. Entire neighborhoods with failing septic tanks and years old promises of trunk lines were not mentioned either. Neither were the overnight break-ins and other “quality of life” issues. In a town of a million complaints, these people are spending American Rescue Money on a Downtown revival.

Committee member O’Brien: “we’re all supportive of Downtown and what makes it vibrant!”

The prevailing attitude seems to be that Downtown is the only important business corridor in Chico, while in fact, not one Downtown business makes the list of top sales tax contributors. When you get off the freeway entering Chico, you’re not Downtown, you’re looking at hobo camps. When you enter from the north or south of town you’re in two of the most neglected, poorly planned parts of Chico. But as far as council and staff are concerned, their only area of interest is the “U” District, “The Entertainment District”, aka, Downtown Chico. And they’re determined to get parklets, even though only four businesses have come forward with plans to use them, and neighboring businesses are seeing them as a financial problem.

I grew up here folks, and Downtown Chico has never been so vibrant as it was in the 1960’s, when Highway 99 came right through town. Ever since the movement for Downtown to become “a destination, not a drive-thru…” I’ve watched them dump money into trendy projects that never came to any good end. The bulbing of sidewalks that places the pedestrian in the street as a traffic calming measure. The cement garbage cans that have been beaten to crap by the transients. Bike trails placed in the street as an experiment, then removed, all at the taxpayers’ expense. Almost half a million for a new City Hall, and now a total remodeling of the third floor of the Administration Building. And at Monday’s meeting, Kasey Reynolds announced that the sewer pipes Downtown are from 1908 and within the next couple of years all of Downtown is going to be torn up for new sewer pipes.

If you voted for Measure H, I hope you will soon feel like the dummass you are. More on the parklets next time, in This Old Shithole We Call Home.

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