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Chico's Silver Dollar BMX facility to move to airport area

Businesses are pooling materials and resources to improve the BMX facility that is moving near the airport. The old site will be used for efforts to house local homeless population.

Posted: Aug 8, 2020 5:52 PM
Updated: Aug 17, 2020 10:27 AM

UPDATED 2:45 p.m., Saturday, August 15, 2020 - Franklin Construction began grading work this past week for the relocation of the Silver Dollar BMX facility out at the airport, next to the Westside Little League baseball fields. The firm is donating their services.

Engineers from the Chico Public Works Department are designing the new facility.

According to city administrators, this activity will help better utilize the City's property at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds so it can be better utilized to assist in providing housing space for those who are currently unhoused.

Santos Excavating will also be donating labor, equipment, and materials to help make the new BMX site near the airport functional.

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CHICO, Calif. - A Chico non-profit is looking to expand its services when it comes to housing the homeless. 

The Chico Housing Action Team, otherwise known as (CHAT) sent a letter of interest to the City of Chico this week to buy property at the Silver Dollar BMX, it is located on Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway.

For years, the Silver Dollar BMX property has been known as an attraction for family entertainment, but now it could soon transform into a shelter. Action News Now asked people who live in the area what they think about the possibility.

One of those who reacted was long time resident Monserrat Santiago, she has lived in the Mulberry neighborhood for 14 years.

"I think it's a bad idea," Santiago said, adding that "for the past five years, we've seen an increase in homelessness."

One man who didn't want to be identified and lives a few blocks down from Santiago says "I think it's a good idea, where else are they suppose to go?"

One of the members of (CHAT) Leslie Johnson explains to Action News Now what they would like to see at the property if the plan moves ahead in the future.

"It would be a challenge to figure out exactly what we would do there. It's not zoned for housing per se so it would be some sort of shelter project," Johnson said.

A project that would do away with bike races and instead house the homeless.

“We need to bring people in from the parks and the camping areas and at a very bare minimum get them into some situation where they have safe, clean and hygienic conditions,” Johnson said.

Monserrat lives nearby.

"I definitely feel like we do need some centers for them but I feel like they shouldn’t be in neighborhoods where families grow or living I think they should be in outer areas of Chico,” Santiago said.

If the shelter project proposal moves forward in the future, Johnson tells Action News Now they would possibly put little huts within the property, but details are not yet set in stone.

“I think it will help them in the long run,” said the unidentified man who lives in Mulberry, adding that "it’s pretty hard to be stuck out here in the street especially with everything going on.”

Johnson tells Action News Now it would cost them roughly $385,000 to purchase the BMX property.

(CHAT) is still waiting to hear back from the city about this letter of interest, organizers say they do not plan to put a campground at the BMX property if plans moved forward. The BMX organization is still using that property, according to Johnson.

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