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Old 07-23-2006, 05:24 PM
 
4 posts, read 68,961 times
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Default What is it like to live in Chico?

We are thinking of moving to Chico. My husband and I have 2 small kids. What are some of the pros and cons of living in this area? Is this a good area to raise children? Where are the good areas to live? Are there things to do? What is the weather like year round? How is the school system?
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Old 07-29-2006, 07:38 PM
 
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Default What it's like to live in Chico.

Hi Trudi

>We are thinking of moving to Chico.

I have heard from an acquaintance who works for a major firm in Silicon
Valley that it is considered one of the hot places to retire to.
This may be the reason for the increase in housing prices,
which have peaked and started to come down.

> My husband and I have 2 small kids. What are some of the pros and cons of >living in this area? Is this a good area to raise children?
Overall (though I don't have kids) I get the impression
it's a good place.
it is a college town, though. The area near the campus
and downtown is <not> a good place for kids, or peace and quiet in general. CSU Chico had a reputation as a party school,
which the administration and city have been working
on changing. But it is still a party magnet for the north valley. Downtown might be a place to avoid nightimes Thursday thru Saturday... unless you want to party!

> Where are the good areas to live?

The north and east sides. There is more development there,
it's farther from downtown.
The south end is mostly industrial, some low income, kind of tacky.
The west side is literally "on the wrong side of the tracks";
it's partly part of the student "ghetto", and partly low income,with
signs of increased gang activity.
(gang graffiti). There is also a "green line" on the west past
which land is zoned for agriculture. This restriction, plus the airport
on the north, foothills on the east, and the south end being industrial has somewhat limited available land for building,
so real estate prices are high. So some people have started commuting
from outlying communities mostly 10 to 20 miles away.
Traffic is a problem overall because of growth. Since I first came here
in '81 the population has gone from 40,000 to over 100,000 but
the road system has kept pace since it's hard to do without without destroying historic structures or changing the town's character.
Rush hour is a pain.
Most new construction is on the east side of the freeway,
but it is also less distinctively "Chico" and more resembles
any growing urban area.

> Are there things to do?
Yes, thanks partly to the college and the students
Concerts, nightclubs, murals, hip cafes, things like that are downtown.
Bidwell Mansion near downtown is a historic site with tours.
Chico has a large park along the creek stretching into the foothills
called Bidwell Park. It is a great place to hike, picnic, and bicycle.
There is a nice enclosed playground called Caper Acres, near the One Mile swimming area in Bidwell Park.
There is a mall, and we recently got a Trader Joe's!
It's close to Lake Oroville, and not far from Lassen Peak
and Mount Shasta. There are college sports and some minor league
sports events. There is an indoor soccer court, at least
one tennis club, several fitness clubs, and a couple of golf courses.

> What is the weather like year round?
Being in the Central Valley, it tends to be very hot
in the summer. Fall and spring are pleasant weather. Winter is
cold and rainy, but that's relative. It very seldom freezes.
The weather is ideal for orchards; current crops are
walnuts and almonds. This can be a problem if you are allergy-prone,
since these orchard produce massive amounts of pollen, which the wind
blows around in the spring.
There are quite a few citrus trees, mostly oranges left over
from previous crops. Many homes, on the westside have been built in the middle of remnants of former orchards.
The founder of Chico, John Bidwell, started a tradition of experimental
agriculture, and so there are plants and trees from all over the
world. So if you are allergic to anything, you may find
it in Chico! (I am allergic to walnut pollen because of living here)
The east end of Chico isn't quite as bad, more grasslands, but fewer trees in general.

Another problem: Chico seems a lot more sophisticated
than the nearby towns, but the economy is still very agriculture centered, farm equipment manufacturing and the like.
This is changing; there is a big industrial park near the airport,
(which has service to San Francisco) and there are some high tech
firms there. But a big part of the job market is service oriented,
or connected with the University or other schools.

> How is the school system?
Overall pretty good, again speaking as a non-parent,
but my wife worked for a number families and
teachers, and there didn't seem to be huge complaints.
Maybe some problems with
the downtown high school.
There are also some various private schools.

The local papers are the Chico Enterprise Record (www.chicoer.com)
and the Chico News and Review.
The main school district is the Chico Unified School District (CUSD).

Maybe you can find more specific info on schools through one of those
sources.

Hope this Helped!

Michaels
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Old 07-31-2006, 02:44 PM
 
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Thanks! that was very helpful.
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Old 04-09-2010, 02:07 AM
 
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I also am thinking about moving to chico. I am a single mother and have 6 six children but only 3 or 4 will still be at home by the time I move. I am originally from the Bay Area but am currently living in Portland and just want to come back to cali. I do know one person in paradise but other than that will be coming in blind. I have a 14yr old cheerleader that is having a fit about moving because she thinks Im putting her in the boonies where they have no cheer and I am a massage therapist. So tell me.... does anyone know if I will be able to find good work out there in chico as a therapist and is there cheer gyms out there? I know the schools are good... My main concern is just being able to support us!
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Old 04-16-2010, 09:08 AM
 
Location: On the "Left Coast", somewhere in "the Land of Fruits & Nuts"
7,308 posts, read 3,860,861 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by debbie66 View Post
I also am thinking about moving to chico. I am a single mother and have 6 six children but only 3 or 4 will still be at home by the time I move. I am originally from the Bay Area but am currently living in Portland and just want to come back to cali. I do know one person in paradise but other than that will be coming in blind. I have a 14yr old cheerleader that is having a fit about moving because she thinks Im putting her in the boonies where they have no cheer and I am a massage therapist. So tell me.... does anyone know if I will be able to find good work out there in chico as a therapist and is there cheer gyms out there? I know the schools are good... My main concern is just being able to support us!
"Cheer gyms"!? I doubt it. Overall, Butte County is one of the poorest in the state, along with the majority of the agricultural-based counties in the Central Valley. Would mostly agree with Michaels excellent overview of Chico, although I'd also point out that the town is a bit of an anomaly in a largely conservative area, and even though more liberal, it sure ain't gonna be like Portland (and definitely nothing like the Bay Area)!

So for a decison like you're considering, you really ought to visit first, and if it still feels right, also investigate some of the nearby foothill communities, like Paradise or Forest Ranch. Good luck!
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Old 04-16-2010, 04:26 PM
 
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I like Chico... it's overpriced for what you get but it's a quaint college town with just enough 'city' to keep most people content. It does get hot but that's par for the course if you don't have a million dollars to by a home in CA.

If the mortgage is a concern I'd look elsewhere. You can get the same environment in other valley towns.
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Old 03-09-2013, 03:55 AM
 
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Chico at first glance may look like the boonies , but in truth is hardly that? Chico is less then 80 miles from Metro Sacramento to to the South and barely an hour and a half to the urban areas of the San Francisco Bay Area to the South West. Chico itself is plus 100,000 people making it in most cases larger then whatever city or town you are from save for largest cities In any given metro area in the states. The Chico Metro Area is nearly 1/4 million people(Chico,Paradise, Oroville) all within a few minutes of each other. Chico does have a gang problem (nortenos) but only in the parts of town that you need not to venture. Weather in Chico is awesome if you like a warm weather climate... Gets real hot in the summer, sometimes 115 degrees+ average though is high 90's with low humidity, but can get sticky at night. Winters are very very mild! Lows at night can average in 30's and 40's, but daytime usually at least high 50's, but much more commonly in the 60's if not 70's as is the norm from Feb on.
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Old 07-08-2013, 04:03 PM
 
Location: Chico, California
60 posts, read 35,659 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nguyentrudi View Post
We are thinking of moving to Chico.
I know this thread is a bit old, but thanks for considering Chico! I figured I'd answer anyway just in case prospective Chico residents are searching through for information.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nguyentrudi View Post
My husband and I have 2 small kids. What are some of the pros and cons of living in this area?
I'm 26 years old and have spent my entire life in Chico, as such I think Chico has proven to be an excellent place to raise kids. There are plenty of options for childcare and entertainment as well as events and venues that offer fun for the entire family.

Overall, Chico has been ranked as significantly safer than most comparable cities and towns in California and the United States as a whole. Much of the rowdiness linked to the 1987 Playboy ranking of Chico State as the #1 party school has died off. College students do still come to Chico State to get a taste of the party lifestyle, but it's really a shadow of what it used to be and the community is overall much safer. Generally events and holidays that used to be associated with heavy partying are closely monitored by the police and many preemptive measures are taken to avoid anything getting out of control.

There is some gang activity, but much of it actually originates from outside of town. We have had instances of gang elements from Sacramento coming into town for initiation. As a response the Chico Police Department has reactivated their gang unit to combat this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nguyentrudi View Post
Is this a good area to raise children?
I think that it is. Compared to a lot of communities Chico is safe and family-friendly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nguyentrudi View Post
Where are the good areas to live?
The areas I've recommended in the past are generally East-Southeast Chico for families (such as the California Park, Nob Hill, Chico Creek Estates and Heritage Oaks neighborhoods). "The Avenues" east of The Esplanade tend to be a fairly family-friendly area, or ideal for young couples, as well as Mansion Park a small older neighborhood west of The Esplanade between the university and Chico High School campuses. Houses in these neighborhoods tend to range from $300-450K and can be upwards of $700K in Mansion Park.

The Barber District, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Chico is actually undergoing a rebirth of sorts as people are purchasing and renovating the older homes to bring the charming neighborhood back to life. Homes in this area can range anywhere from $200K-$800K depending on the size, location and year it was built. There are some old Victorian homes built by the Diamond Match Factory in the early 20th century that are quite beautiful and fetch a pretty penny.

There is also a well-liked region of Chico near the park extending north-northeast from Vallombrosa Ave to East First Avenue and from east-west from Highway 99 to Manzanita. Homes in this area tend to be older but have large lots and can range anywhere from $250K to $750K depending on it's proximity to the park.

Truth be told, there aren't many regions of Chico that aren't suitable for families, the few that I would suggest staying away from are the South Campus area which is almost completely inhabited by college students, as well as the West Side (primarily along Nord Avenue) and parts of North Campus from West Sacramento Avenue to maybe W 6th Avenue between The Esplanade and Nord Avenue.

There are some preconceived notions that areas such as Chapmantown are "rough" neighborhoods, and there may indeed still be small pockets where safety is questionable, but I also know some families and young people who live in the area and are very happy with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nguyentrudi View Post
Are there things to do?
Absolutely! Don't be discouraged by folk that say "all there is to do in Chico is drink", from my experience people who say that have tunnel vision and are unable to see everything else Chico has to offer.

Chico is a very family oriented town, you will find many community events geared towards families, as well as many venues for families to spend time at. Bidwell Park is probably the most famous, it's one of the largest municipal parks in the country and provides a wealth of options for outdoor activities. In lower park you have bicycle/walking paths for exercise, Sycamore Pool for swimming in the summer as well as the surrounding green area for picnics and recreation, elsewhere in Lower Park you have Cedar Grove for BBQ's and picnics as well as several areas off of the bike paths with BBQ's and picnic tables to spend an afternoon grilling and swimming in the creek. In Upper Park there's an abundance of hiking and mountain biking trails as well as swimming holes such as Salmon Hole, Bear Hole (this one can be dangerous depending on the water levels - caution is advised), Alligator Hole and Browns Hole.

During the warm months from about April until October the city closes off Broadway from 2nd Street to 5th street to hold the Thursday Night Market. A farmers market complete with entertainment, additional dining options such as food trucks and booths, and produce stands that starts around 5PM and goes until 9PM. On Saturday mornings there is a year-round farmers market from 7:30AM until 1PM at the 2nd and Wall Street parking lot, this market is strictly geared towards commerce and is smaller than the Thursday night market, with only produce and other product stands.

There's also the new Gateway Science Museum and the Bidwell Mansion State Park, both of which offer tours and exhibits for people to become familiar with local history.

The University and the City both have a number of entertainment options for the community to enjoy, Chico State's Laxson Auditorium often hosts musical and theatrical talent as does theaters such as Chico Theater Company.

There's no longer a minor league baseball team in town (first we had the Chico Heat and then we had the Outlaws), since Nettleton Stadium is under full control of the university it is primarily used for their needs. However, during baseball season there are plenty of Wildcat baseball games to check out, as well as Wildcat basketball during the basketball season.

Those are just a few of the unique things to do in Chico. The city also has many things that other cities and towns have such as a fourteen screen movie theater (Tinseltown) in North Chico and the Chico Mall in South Chico (which is also surrounded by many other shopping centers such as Target and Best Buy).

Quote:
Originally Posted by nguyentrudi View Post
What is the weather like year round?
Like much of California, we tend to have a Mediterranean climate with summers averaging in the 90's, though in recent years (especially here in 2013) we've had summer days in excess of 110. These aren't exactly the norm but they do happen. You will find that many permanent residents have homes with pools in the backyard to combat the summer heat.

Spring and Fall seasons can be quite gorgeous, temperatures usually average around a balmy 75 while nights can be brisk as the temperatures fall into the 40's and 50's. In the early-mid spring it's not uncommon to see rolling green hills and fields with wildflowers everywhere and in the fall the wide variety of trees Chico is well known for all change colors.

The winters can be rather mild, average rainfall is around 26 inches per year with most of that rainfall occurring from November to January. Some winters can be rather dry, such as this past winter of 2012-13 which can pave the way for wildfires during the summer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nguyentrudi View Post
How is the school system?
Overall it's quite excellent. My dad taught for 40 years and roughly 20 of them were within the Chico Unified School District. I attended grades K-6 in private school and 7-12 in public school.

There are a large number of elementary schools from public to private to charter, there are three middle schools: Chico Junior High School, Bidwell Junior High School and the most recently built (1999) Marsh Junior High School. All three have good reputations. There are also two public high schools: Chico Senior High School and Pleasant Valley Senior High School. Both have good reputations academically and athletically, where your kids attend largely has to do with where you reside unless you want to fill out a Form 10 to relocate your child if you prefer a different school over the one whose district you're in. There is also a continuation high school called Fairview High School which has undergone a good cleanup at the hands of it's principal.

Other schools include private schools such as Notre Dame Catholic School (K-8) and Chico Christian School & Preschool (Pre-K through 8).
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