Annie’s Glen could get crossing

Drugs, crushed beer cans and shady solicitors were just a few of the problems discussed regarding Annie’s Glen at a Bidwell Park and Playground Commission meeting held June 1.

Annie’s Glen isn’t the jewel of Bidwell Park. It is not bike- or hike-friendly as it is split in half by the zooming cars of the Pine Street bridge. The Orient Street side of the park can be a fire hazard, full of dry weeds and overgrown brush. Neighbors say vandalism, homeless camping and drug activity all occur in Annie’s Glen because of the limited amount of foot traffic through it, which discourages undesirable behavior.

Sandee Renault is a concerned citizen who lives near Annie’s Glen. She collected 300 signatures requesting the Chico Parks Department to improve the park’s maintenance. She also requested a bike and foot bridge be built across Big Chico Creek, midway between the Cypress Avenue bridge and Pine Street so both sides of the park could be connected. That way, she said, the park would not be isolated like it is now and families could use it.

“This is a physical problem with a physical solution,” Renault said. “If there was something to connect the two sides of the park, I think it would created as much foot traffic as there is at One-Mile and the more eyes and ears in the park make it a more comfortable place to cross through.”

Chico’s Park Director, Dennis Beardsley, has met with Renault to discuss a possible crossing under Pine Street to improve access to and from Lower Bidwell Park. Renault is also open to this idea. She said a lighted tunnel could be safe and effective.

The Bidwell Park and Playground Commission members talked favorably of the ideas of a bridge or tunnel, but were concerned about how much it would cost to complete such a project. Members said funding would have to come from the Bicycle Advisory Committee.

The commission recommended the issue as a top priority for the Bicycle Advisory Committee to discuss at its next meeting later this month.

Annie’s Glen will begin to get a face-lift on June 8 as Friends of Bidwell Park, a volunteer group, starts a weekly clean up program.