A plan for ‘Lost Park’

It’s a good one, but it’s been sitting on a shelf for more than a decade

Several weeks ago in this space, I compared how the cities of Ashland, Ore., and Chico have taken advantage—or, in Chico’s case, failed to take advantage—of the creeks running through them. While Ashland has seamlessly incorporated Ashland Creek into its downtown, Chico has failed to do the same with Big Chico Creek.

I was referring to the section of the creek between The Esplanade and the Camellia Way bridge, next to city Parking Lot 5. This hangout for the homeless is aptly named “Lost Park.”

Soon after that column appeared, I got an e-mail from Brendan Vieg, the city’s principal planner, alerting me that a redevelopment plan for the area modeled, in part, on Ashland’s creekside revitalization had been created back in 2000. It calls for a mixed use of restaurants, stores and townhouses and a pedestrian promenade next to the creek.

It’s a good plan, but it’s been sitting on a shelf for more than a decade, waiting for a private developer to enter into a public-private partnership with the city, Vieg said.

Even if a developer were interested, the city’s redevelopment funds are currently in limbo, so no go there. Looks like we’re stuck with Lost Park for a while.

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Trish Coder is out, Scott Howard is back. That’s the news from TV’s Action News, where GM John Stall has hired Howard, a former news director, to replace Coder, who’s been news director since 2006.

Stall had only good words for Coder but said he thought the news crew needed a shakeup in order to compete better with Redding’s KRCR, which has been beating them in the evening time slots.

Howard, a Chico State grad, started his journalism career as a CN&R intern in 1984, worked at the Tracy Press for nine years, then returned to Chico to work at Channel 24 Action News. He was Action News’ director from 2000 until Stall laid him off in 2006. Since then he’d been commuting to work at KOLO, an ABC station in Reno, coming home on weekends (his wife works at Tri Counties Bank).

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Speaking of personnel changes, we’re saying goodbye this week to our altogether exceptional calendar editor, Stacey Kennelly, who’s embarking on the next stage in what is sure to be an illustrious career by attending the prestigious UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. In addition to editing (and greatly improving) the calendar, Stacey compiled the EarthWatch and Pulse briefs each week. She was also a prodigious reporter and writer, contributing dozens of superb stories on a wide range of subjects. Her passion for the craft was evident in everything she did. Plus she was totally fun to work with. We’ll miss her.

Taking her place is Howard Hardee, who recently graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Howard was an intern here last year, so we know how smart and capable he is. We’re looking for him to pick up right where Stacey left off. No pressure, Howard.

Robert Speer is editor of the CN&R.