Oct 4, 2013 7:22 PM
The Chico Chamber of Commerce is asking downtown businesses to speak up about growing concern over some serious issues.
Via e-mail, the chamber is asking downtown businesses for specific examples of challenges the businesses have faced, from vandalism to general crime to anti-social behavior. The anti-social behavior is something new to Chico, businesses say, and they're demanding change.
Around 5pm the other day, Chico Paper Co. had an unlikely surprise.
Someone was being chased by a park ranger decided to dip inside the store to hide.
Two Chico Police officers eventually had to take down and arrest that person.
But Chico Paper Co-Owner Greg Strong says it's just another story he can put in front of the Chico City Council on October 22, when the city will hold a study session on issues downtown is facing.
“We just see people coming in saying I feel in danger and just need a place to hang out. That's very new, we’ve never had that before at all,” said Strong. “Chico seems to be a magnet right now for a transient community whose behavior is a detriment to the old Chico.”
Anne Marie Peters has been owner of Kreations for 13 years as well, and agrees, it's more of a behavioral problem than a homeless problem.
“The only people that could make a difference is city council, and unfortunately some of them don't recognize it as a problem,” Peters said.
Peters says some of her customers, like Chico Paper’s customers, are afraid to come downtown.
But then there's people like Serra Wells, who shops and dines downtown four times a week.
“We feel really good. I don't have a thought when I come down about not being safe,” Wells said.
Then there’s the Downtown Ambassador group, and they're trying to create a clean and safe downtown.
“It's a complex problem so I don't expect easy solutions, but we need to start working towards something,” Strong said.
The city council study session is October 22nd from 6:30-8:30 at city hall. The public, and obviously downtown businesses, are encouraged to attend.