What to do with a big, empty lot?

Locals pitch in ideas for the long-vacant corner of First and Main

ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES<br>Many locals would like to see this empty space turned into a garden of sorts.

Many locals would like to see this empty space turned into a garden of sorts.

Photo By Brittni Zacher

The corner of First and Main streets in downtown Chico has been vacant a long, long time. And what a shame. It’s prime real estate and could easily serve as the foundation for any number of businesses or civic ventures.

The Breslauer Family Trust owns the lot—along with a number of properties downtown, including the pink Waterland-Breslauer building at Fourth and Broadway—and has offered a 100-year lease to whoever will build there.

Until someone makes that commitment, the fenced-off property remains “the missing tooth in Chico’s beautiful smile,” as John Lavezzi put it in a letter to the CN&R. Lavezzi figured locals have their own dreams for that plot of land. Here are some responses from readers to the call for ideas.

I propose that the city give the lot to GRUB, so that they might plant a more visible vegetable garden in the heart of downtown, to add to the numerous gardens sprouting up around Chico already feeding and educating our community.

—Michele Bechard

In view of the proximity to CSU Chico, adorn this small real estate with all kinds of exhibits that display the basic sciences—like anthropology, astronomy, biology, chemistry, geo-sciences, mathematics, physics—and some of their applications. The entire display should be visible to all by surrounding the exhibit with transparent, bullet-proof and durable walls.

—Brahama D. Sharma

Berries and fruit trees! Year round! Oranges, raspberries, peaches cherries, fuyu persimmon strawberries, all for public enjoyment.

—Jeremy Miller

A community garden. Urban gardening in vacant lots is a growing trend (no pun intended) across the nation and is something that I’d like to see in downtown Chico.

—Lindsay Buckley

My suggestion is to turn the empty lot into a theater. When we built the Red Bluff High School theater in 1990, it only cost $1.7 million and seats 550 people. The year it opened, by the way, the high school dropout rate fell a whopping 15 percent!

Just don’t let any person or group of people become territorial about it. It should be available to all theater groups, for free.

—Michael M. Peters

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