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Chico City Council: syringe access program, Upper Park repairs

The Chico City Council will be talking on the idea of a syringe access program, as well as repairing Upper Park Road in Bidwell Park.

Posted: Oct 1, 2019 8:58 PM
Updated: Oct 1, 2019 9:12 PM

CHICO, Calif. - The Chico City Council will be talking on the idea of a syringe access program, as well as repairing Upper Park Road in Bidwell Park.

Syringe Access Program

A coalition is working to start a syringe access program and many are worried public spaces could become littered with used and possibly infected needles.

Vice Mayor Alex Brown says the city does not really have a choice in the matter.

The Northern Valley Harm Reduction Coalition already submitted an application to the California Department of Public Health to become a certified syringe exchange program.

The group has applied to hand out clean needles through a mobile unit in the Chapman-Mulberry neighborhood and through the Blackbird Book Store on Park Avenue.

One man said it is a good idea because it would "at least make sure that people are using [the needles safetly] and they're not getting diseases".

Another man said he opposed it saying it is "a waste of money".

Vice Mayor Brown said the Director of Butte County Public Health will speak to the council to address these concerns and said from what she has learned, a syringe access program does not necessarily mean more needles will be left on the ground.

The city wouldn't actually have authority over it, said Brown. The California Department of Public Health's Office will decide if Northern Valley Harm Reduction should become certified.

Upper Park Road Repairs

Public Works' Director of Operations Erik Gustafson shared with Action News Now the City Council voted unanimously to authorize a funding agreement with the state for Upper Park Road.

The resolution discussed at the meeting was regarding the city to receive more than $700,000 from the state to redesign and repair Upper Park Road.

Part of the money would go to keep the dirt road from eroding into Big Chico Creek, as well as also use some money to take care of 10-Mile House Road and other trails that could impact the creek.

One man said he would rather see Upper Park Road closed as to not disturb nature.

"I'm on the side of people that want more nature, you don't need to be able to drive all the way up there I don't think. If you want to go up there, hike up there. I don't like the idea of expanding the means of access to Upper Park. So, yeah, I'm against it," said Chico resident, Tom Gascoyne.

The City learned it received the grant back in May.

Commercial Air Service

At the meeting, the city can expect to hear details of a marketing plan, updates on grant applications and a revenue guarantee program that would ensure a possible carrier's revenue for two years.

It has been five years since Chico has had commercial air service.

"We need the community's support," said airport manager, Sherry Miller. "If we are to get an air carrier in here and the services to work, we really need their support. We need their support by way of using the service."

Update, 9:06 p.m.: This agenda item was planned to be discussed at the Oct. 1 meeting but has been moved to a later date.

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