Editorial: The Ridge needs good neighbors

City of Chico planning an outdoor ice rink that will compete with seasonal event in Paradise

Outdoor skaters at the annual Paradise On Ice event at Terry Ashe Recreation Center. (Photo: Feather River Recreation & Park District)

In the wake of the Camp Fire, Paradise has struggled economically and otherwise. It’s understandable considering virtually 80 percent of the town was wiped out in a single day, whereas rebuilding and repopulation will take decades. Tourism in the area—once a staple of the region—has really taken a hit.

One of the few remaining draws in the now-tiny foothills town—formerly the county’s second most populous municipality—is the outdoor ice rink at the Terry Ashe Recreation Center. The seasonal Paradise on Ice attraction has been set up there for the better part of a decade, enticing folks from near and far. They’d skate, they’d shop, they’d eat. It was great for the Ridge and it was great for visitors.

We were happy to see the town continue with the tradition post-fire, because never more did the businesses and townsfolk need something fun and positive than after the 2018 disaster.

That’s why we are so surprised, and, to be honest, shocked and disappointed, that the city of Chico, in conjunction with local business leaders here in the City of Trees, appears to be co-opting that seasonal activity by establishing an ice rink in downtown Chico. Tonight, the Chico City Council’s consent agenda includes approving a transfer of money to a new fund set up to pay for establishing and running the Downtown Chico Ice Skating Rink at the City Plaza and tracking its related financials.

We don’t know whose idea this was, but we know a few things that set our teeth on edge. First off, it’s not a very neighborly thing to do. In fact, it’s downright inconsiderate and selfish. It may sound hokey, but an outdoor ice rink started as a Paradise institution and we think it should remain one. Second, we’ve learned that folks from the city of Chico didn’t do the courtesy of reaching out to Paradise to ask how a rink in the valley (which would open Nov. 19, one week after the rink at Terry Ashe) would affect the Ridge or how to mitigate those impacts. And finally, we have to ask the obvious question: Is spending money on an ice rink a wise use of taxpayer dollars when the city has so many other issues to address (read: pot holes, a failed homeless encampment, a federal lawsuit for civil rights violations)?

Like we said, inconsiderate and selfish. Oh, and wasteful.

The city of Chico’s elected leaders and administrators talk a big game about helping our foothills neighbor, but the fact is that the municipal coffers here in the flatlands have grown as a result of the fire. Paradise doesn’t deserve to have yet another part of its identity stripped away, especially not from a neighboring city that claims to be supportive.

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11 Comments

  1. Thank you so much! I had the same thought. What a downright lousy thing for the City of Chico to propose. Paradise nees our support and cooperation, not competition.

  2. You hit the nail on the head. Point well taken . Have to consider that Chico well do anything that drives people from using the downtown park for living arrangements. This ice rink has a hidden agenda. Your point is well taken though, and thanks for taking this position! Paradise needs help and the ice rink is the best self help available.

  3. I would hazard to guess that the competition would lower attendance and make it cost prohibitive to Paradise Recreation & Parks to continue their rink. And that would be sad to lose one of the few family activities available to the Ridge. Shame on you Chico!

  4. Thank you for looking at the consequences -unintended or not- that recreational and other Chico decisions have on the Butte County neighborhood.

  5. This editorial is woke, and not in a good way. Why not propose ice skating rinks all over Butte County? Fast food businesses know that a row of restaurants is good business for everyone. We can empathize with Paradise, but people are not leaping over themselves to repopulate the area. A skating rink in Chico won’t change their minds. Everyone pays taxes and is entitled to entertainment, even parents of teens who don’t want to drive to Paradise every day.

  6. Most of the low income people I worked with in Chico when I volunteered with charities there had never been to Paradise. Are people seriously saying that they want the revenue so much that they’re willing to take away the opportunity for all the Chico children to have a skating rink they can skate at? Seriously? I’ve got to say, that attitude makes me a bit sad. Ask yourself, what’s the best for the children, not what’s best for your pocketbook.

  7. Yes, Paradise needs help, and I totally get that this will take some money and attendance away from Paradise. However, think of all the families that take the bus, or just work so much that going to Paradise for the ice rink as much as they want to is still out of the way for them. So for the Chico people/families and everyone who wants to go to Paradise but doesn’t want to make the drive all the way up there, or who takes the bus and can’t get there when they can, a Chico rink is an amazing idea!

  8. Based on the way the city council has tried to “NOT” deal with the homeless problem in Chico it is not surprising that they would be taking up this agenda when they should be knuckling down harder to try to help with and solve some of the homeless issues in Chico.

  9. It’s pretty sad that some Chico residents are complaining that they can’t drive a whole 8 miles up the hill to skate. Our kids go to Chico for almost EVERYTHING. Suck it up and drive up the hill. We’ve been driving down the hill for years.

  10. I am appalled. The City of Chico has crossed the line here. Now is the time to revolk the idea of a downtown Chico Ice Rink over the holidays! Lets use our funds to clean up our town and host NON-competitive events in our city.
    Thanks,
    Forrest Melton

  11. Leave Paridise alone regrading an ice rink in Chico. How about a shuttle bus from the park since that is central. Maybe run up and down there a couple of days on a routine schedule. Might be cheaper than redoing the park.

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