Rename the plaza
With all the discussion lately about Chico’s Downtown Plaza Park, perhaps now’s the time to change its name. Let’s rename it “Downtown Plaza” or “Downtown Square” or, even better, “Bidwell Square.”
Let’s face it, the simple park that once graced downtown Chico is no more, and we’re left with only our memories of its stately trees and shaded lawns. Something else is coming into being, and it’s not a park.
But our downtown square will still be a plaza, as it has always been, only now designed more in line with big-city plazas. Think of Union Square in San Francisco, which has its fair share of concrete but also manages to be a place of beauty and repose.
We hope Chico’s civic plaza will be similarly attractive and useful. Yes, we worry that it may have too many add-ons, and we wish the restrooms could have been incorporated into the band shell. But we’re willing to give the plaza time—for the trees, grass and shrubbery to grow in, and for ourselves to get used to it.
Perhaps it will never be the kind of civic square that is right for Chico. But we’ll never know unless we give it a chance. A lot of good people have tried mightily to design a plaza that will serve the community well. The rest of us should suspend judgment at least until construction is completed. Then we can give it a new name, one that doesn’t include the word “park.”