Meter deal’s come undone

We don’t pretend to be in favor of the multi-level parking garage slated to be built across the street from our offices here on Second Street. We think it is unneeded and a waste of money, time and a fine piece of downtown real estate that would be better utilized with housing or left as is.

That said, we can’t help but think the Chico City Council’s decision no longer to treat that location as the primary choice for the lot unravels the deal the city made with the Downtown Chico Business Association.

The DCBA said it would back increases in parking meter fees and enforcement hours—which are, let’s face it, an odd way to bring more traffic downtown—only if the structure were built at the Second Street site and ground were broken no later than fall 2006. But at its May 17 meeting, the council passed a resolution allowing for an environmental-impact report that will give equal consideration to what until now had been second-thought options at best, including the lot that serves the Chico Municipal Building and the city-owned lot at the corner of Salem and Second streets.

Foes of the structure hope to gather enough signatures to overturn the council resolution that extends the hours of meter enforcement. If the effort succeeds, it will dilute the revenue scheme concocted to help pay for the $15 million to $18 million garage, meaning that to pay for certain amendments, like closing off Wall Street, the city would have to dip into its redevelopment funds.

We say let’s just drop the whole idea and wait the five to 10 years until the university builds its state-funded structure. It is the students, after all, who clog up the downtown parking spots. Look around, now that school is out. Do you see a parking problem? Make the state pay for it.