CHICO, Calif. - The City of Chico is shutting down City Plaza on Monday, Oct. 25 for repairs ahead of the ice rink opening soon.
This is the third time the plaza has closed down this year. Back in April, they worked on the expansion joints on the tiles on the fountain. In September they did extensive cleaning and repairs to the bathrooms, fountain, stage, and electrical circuits.
“The amount of work that has to be done can really vary from year to year depending on the usage and the infrastructure repairs that are needed at that time,” public information officer for the City of Chico Public Work Lynda Gizzi said.
The September closure cost the city $30,000 for the bathroom repairs due to ongoing vandalism. Each closure has been $5,000 to $10,000 in materials and services.
“Obviously maintenance repairs are identified on a schedule and then as needed as well, so there are some years where there are more repairs or works that need to be done,” Gizzi told Action News Now.
They do not have the numbers on how much the repairs this time around will cost until they close and inspect the space, but they will be looking at the stage, bathrooms, and general use areas.
Still, many people are still camped out in the space and they told Action News Now they do not plan on going anywhere.
"I always thought about what it would be like on actual ice,” a homeless man who did not want to be identified living in City Plaza said.
Although it means a change to the space, he is excited about the rink.
"I think it'd be cool to see something that I don't usually see as much,” the man said. “I have seen ice skating things. I am a skater and have been skating all my life."
He does have some concerns if he will be allowed access to the rink.
"How are they going to treat the homeless people around the area that want to try the ice? Are they going to try and tell them they have to rent something or refuse them the service to try the ice?” he asked.
The city assured that City Plaza is a public space.
"It still has that same general use areas where people can come in, they can observe, they can watch the skaters and witness holiday events,” Gizzi said. “The general use area of the rink still is maintained as a city park in the heart of our plaza."
In order to skate at the rink, you will be required to pay. The outside area around the rink will be a free public viewing area. This space will only be closed when the rink is closed.
"It is a public access area, so during the operational hours of the ice rink, anyone can come in and view and enjoy and watch the holiday events,” Gizzi told Action News Now.
The repairs and preparation will last until the ice rink is up and running on Nov. 19. The ice rink will last through the holiday season until Jan. 9, 2022.