Above and beyond

DCBA and city partner on holiday lights; plus, ways to be generous

Over the past couple of years, I’ve felt increasingly nostalgic during the holidays. It’s probably because my son is now old enough to enjoy the season, but the romantic in me thinks it also has something to do with the display of lights in downtown Chico.

This has been a rough year on so many levels. I think that’s why I’ve found myself clinging to the things that bring me comfort—gatherings with friends and family, cuddling on the couch with my son, and strolling through lit-up downtown.

I’m partial to those candy cane decorations affixed to the light standards on Main and Broadway, and now, for the first time, there are lights strung across those streets. The city center is aglow in the evenings. I love it.

The big champion for the holiday cheer is the Downtown Chico Business Association. According to Executive Director Melanie Bassett, the organization’s Ambassador teams have spent the better part of a year working with the city’s Public Works Department on a variety of projects, including the new lights. DCBA purchased them, along with the cables they’re strung upon, and the city put them up. (There’s a similar arrangement with PG&E to put up the candy canes.)

The partnership between the DCBA and city to beautify downtown makes a difference. But of course, you can’t make everyone happy.

Public Works also is the department that strung up the lights on that giant redwood on the north side of the City Plaza. That particular tree hasn’t been decorated in years. The tree-lighting ceremony took place last Friday (Dec. 2), and a lot of folks weren’t impressed with the result. That’s putting it mildly—comments on Facebook were less than charitable.

To be fair, it’s not an easy task. As Bassett noted, the adjacent band shell makes it difficult to place the lights. Plus, the tree is over 90 feet tall with long, skinny branches, said Erik Gustafson, director of public works-operations and maintenance. To the department’s credit, Public Works went back out on Monday evening (employees donated their time!) and Tuesday to, as one city official put it, “enhance” the lighted tree. Kudos to them.

Speaking of going above and beyond, each year CN&R’s amazing readers join the Esplanade House in its effort to provide a nice holiday for the little ones living at the local transitional shelter. In Chico, as in every community, there are many whose parents cannot afford to buy them presents. If you have the means, please consider stopping into our headquarters at Second and Flume streets to choose the name of a child in need. Wrapped gifts are due back to our office on Dec. 21. As of the paper’s deadline, 16 kids were still up for grabs.

I also want to thank the members of the community who have brought in donations of unused toiletries that will be donated to local service providers. These types of organizations are always in need of items such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner, floss, lotion, soap, feminine products, etc. We’ll remain a drop-off point, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., for the next couple of weeks.

Thanks, in advance, for your generosity.