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Chico On The Verge? Part 1

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"There is an evolution taking place in Chico, California, which involves the past, meeting the present and both moving into the future.

Posted: May. 3, 2018 7:57 AM
Updated: May. 3, 2018 11:27 AM
Posted By: Julia Yarbough

Chico, Calif. – There is an evolution taking place in Chico, California, which involves the past, meeting the present and both moving into the future. As a growing community, the realities of that transformation could dictate success or failure for residents as well as the business community.

Action News Now Anchor Julia Yarbough examines this concept in the first of a series of articles entitled, “Chico on the Verge?”

A young female student attending Chico State University, says he moved to Chico from Southern California. She says she loves the college town feel of the community and describes the downtown area as ‘absolutely amazing.’

Another resident, who also moved to the region from Southern California describes his experience living in Chico as a positive one, saying Chico is ‘A small town but with a big heart.’

That is often the case when asking different people their personal experiences of living, working and playing in Chico, that one finds just as many different answers.

New resident Cyril Afeavl says he moved to Chico from Missoula, Montana just over a year ago. He says his experience in Chico has been a positive one and he especially enjoys the weather. He says Chico offers plenty to do, a choice of good restaurants and it is nice to be able to walk down the street and see familiar faces.

Resident Karen Porter has lived in Chico since 1964. She says she has seen many changes over the years and does not believe most have been for the good. She believes the community has taken on too much of a liberal feel.

To the question of who and what is the community of Chico; the answers can be complex. For many, Chico is the hub for a multi-million dollar agricultural industry. For others, it is an educational pit-stop through Chico State University. The school, was recently ranked by Forbes Magazine, as among the top 100 ‘Best Value Colleges.’

For thousands of others in the area, Chico is simply home; described as a quaint and quiet community offering a family friendly vibe.

Earl Hallet has lived in Chico for 49 years. He says one of the positives for him, is being able to walk down the street and run into someone that he has known for over 30 years.

The region which Chico inhabits offers residents and visitors a host of outdoor pursuits and events which take place all year. The city is located close to major attraction, such as Lassen Volcanic National Park, Lake Tahoe ski resorts, the San Francisco Bay Area and the Northern California coastline.

However, it is still far from the congestion and long freeway commutes residents in many other larger metropolitan regions experience.

According to World Population Review, which keeps track of statistics, Chico has a population of just over 91-thousand. Over the past 17 years the city has experienced a modest but steady growth. It is that growth that resident Karen Porter believes is a slight drawback. She believes the community would be better with slightly fewer people.

The city location is unique as well in that it is somewhat of an island. Access to Chico and travel options are limited to one major interstate; I-5. The city is also fed by Highway’s 70 and 99. Both roadways are known regionally as dangerous and oftentimes deadly routes to and from Chico.

Efforts by the City of Chico to return commercial air service to the region are gaining momentum. If that were to become a reality, it could still be years away. It is a reality the Airport Manager believes is hurting the local economy.
Airport Manager Sherry Miller explains the city has had business come to Chico and leave and business not come here, because of lack of air service.

Despite that, many see Chico as an ideal place to call home. Realtor.com last summer ranked Chico number seven among U.S. cities in which outdoor lovers can afford to live. And in 2017, Forbes Magazine ranked Chico in the top 100 at number 70, for best small places for businesses and careers.

Members of the Chico Chamber of Commerce are taking not of those observations and are striving to build on the positive trends, while addressing issues that could possibly hold the city back from an even more prosperous future.

What are business, city and public safety leaders in Chico doing to continue a positive trend and what pitfalls might they and residents encounter as the community continues to grow? Those are questions that will be tackled in future segments of “Chico on the Verge?” In part two, Anchor Julia Yarbough looks at the realities of offering public safety at a time of restricted and limited budgets."

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