Future of the old Municipal Building up in the air: Right now the old Municipal Building is pretty much empty—one office is being used by the company remodeling the Downtown Plaza Park, which sits across Main Street. Until recently, there was a plan in place in which the city would lease the building to the Chico Area Recreation District, the Chico State University Foundation and Friends of the Arts. The new operation would be called A Center for Arts, History & Culture. But on Dec. 9, CARD announced it was withdrawing from the partnership. Ten days later the city received a letter of interest in the building from Far West Heritage Association, the folks who run the Chico Museum at Second and Salem streets.

Now Friends of the Arts is asking the city for a little time to try to stave off the museum proposal and keep the arts plan in place, sans CARD. This week Debra Lucero, executive director of Friends of the Arts asked for about 10 days to digest the changes before it makes another proposal. Before it is opened for permanent use, the building must be retrofitted to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements as well as upgrading for earthquake protection. The City Council has sent the matter to its Internal Affairs Committee.

Bank on it: In a time when large banks are gobbling up smaller ones, a group of investors are starting a new bank in Chico.

Golden Valley Bank’s application was approved Dec. 27 by the state’s Department of Financial Institutions (DFI).

Mark Francis, one of several investors in the “organizing group,” is the proposed president and chief executive officer. He said that the consolidation of smaller banks into larger ones “actually opens up markets.”

DFI has strict rules about what organizers can say about the bank at this stage—for example, no marketing is allowed—so Francis couldn’t say when the bank might open, or how it might go about drawing customers. The DFI even had to approve the organizers’ press release, and its placement of a banner at the site it will occupy at 190 Cohasset Road.

Francis, who was with Bank of America for more than a decade before moving to Tehama Bank, which merged with Humboldt Bank, which was purchased by Umpqua bank, said he’s looking forward to the venture.

“I really like working in small, community banks,” he said. “How often does the guy who was born here [and] grew up here … have an opportunity to start is own bank?

Alpha Bits: The Alpha Chi sorority, which was temporarily suspended last semester for defying rules set forth by Chico State President Paul Zingg, hired a civil rights attorney to represent them in their dispute with the university.

Attorney Eric Berg was hired by the sorority because the university “refused to allow Alpha Chi to enjoy any rights and privileges on campus after Alpha Chi students assembled on campus to invite other students to join their sorority.” A press conference was held this week to discuss a letter sent to the president on behalf of the sorority.

Alpa Chi was suspended for recruiting new members after the university handed down 59 rules in the wake of Matthew Carrington’s death last February.