Hospital brouhaha: The details of the Enloe Medical Center expansion have been scrutinized by planners, neighbors and architects. Now, the Master Plan is the subject of a public hearing.
A hearing to receive public comments on the draft environmental-impact report is set for July 12 at 6:30 p.m. in the City Council chambers at 421 Main St.
Enloe officials have proposed an $85 million project that nearly doubles the hospital’s “footprint” along The Esplanade adjacent to a residential neighborhood. As originally proposed, it would include two parking garages, a large tower, helicopter fueling and more.
A recent “charrette” opened up the planning process to include neighbors’ input, but some in the Avenues see the EIR process as a chance to get the expansion booted from the neighborhood altogether.
Avenues resident Kasey Merrill said that although the charrette resulted in marked improvements to the aesthetics of the proposed project, “the issues that still stand out to me are the noise and traffic issues.”
She said she hopes the spirit of cooperation from Enloe that emerged during the charrette continues. “We look forward to the EIR discussion in supporting the quality of life that we have here in the Avenues.”
The EIR, which was prepared by Pacific Municipal Consultants, addresses such diverse impacts as traffic, air quality, the history of the area and aesthetics.
Far from home: After five years leading the Chico Community Shelter Partnership, Tami Ritter will step down as executive director on July 29.
“It just feels like it’s really time for a change and time for some new energy,” Ritter said.
Ritter saw CCSP through from a beginning as a winter-only shelter program with no fixed location to the construction and implementation of the impressive Torres Community Shelter in March 2003. The shelter board credits her with securing more than $2 million in grants.
Ritter said she’s stepping down at a time of the year when the shelter has only about 40 guests a night and has already secured funding for the coming year. “It seemed like the most fortuitous time for the shelter to make a change of this magnitude.” The shelter is also starting on a second building. Board Chairwoman Mary Flynn credited Ritter’s leadership with much of the shelter’s success. “We were literally this floundering organization. We had a budget of $34,000 when she came to us.”
Ritter said she doesn’t have another job lined up and just wants to take a breather. (Social service work is notoriously draining.) “It’s just a wide-open landscape at this point,” she said, adding that she’ll still help the shelter with advice and fund-raising.
The organization is seeking applicants for the executive director position, with inquires to be directed to: 101 Silver Dollar Way, Chico, CA 95928.
Flynn said Ritter will be hard to replace, but, “I have faith that the right person will find us.”
Katz got your tongue?: Opponents of the Paradise shopping center that Sacramento developer Fred Katz has long sought to build on the Skyway scored a legal victory last week when Butte County Judge Thomas Kelly ruled that the environmental review done for the project was insufficient.
The 30-acre project, which would be built at the entrance to town, has sorely divided the community ever since Katz bought the property in 1999. Voters in 2004 approved the project after a bitter campaign in which supporters touted the jobs and shopping the project would bring and detractors warned of big-box blight and traffic issues.
Katz told local papers he would appeal the ruling and that the project is still going ahead as planned.