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New ambassadors cleanup Downtown Chico

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CHICO, Calif. - Anyone who's been Downtown Chico in the last two weeks may have noticed a few bright green additions to the scenery.

They're the new ambassadors from the Property-Based Improvement District (PBID) voted for and passed by property owners in July.

Annual fees paid for by the property owners will fund this new program. Depending on the size of their property, they will pay $150 to $18,000 to support this per year. In total, this will generate $450,000.

"It's nice to see that stuff is happening because that's what gets people excited about it," said Annemarie Parrelli Peters. She's owned a downtown boutique named Kreations for 18 years and said the area desperately needed the PBID.

"I know the police have their hands full, maybe in other aspects, but they don't help downtown necessarily and so you could be waiting for a long time for them to come and by that time, the damage is done," Peters explained.

But she said that wasn't the case when she called the ambassadors with PBID to help with two transients yelling obscenities while camped on 3rd and Broadway Street.

"Literally they came within minutes and he did, he moved them on," Peters said. "It was really nice. It was nice to have that support, because we need it."

This PBID was passed by 82 percent of property owners who now pay for the ambassadors to pick up trash, remove graffiti, do evening safety escorts, respond to aggressive panhandling and more.

They will also deter and report to petty crime, do landscape and sidewalk maintenance and power-washing. Peters said that's one of the biggest downtown necessities, "I always make a joke, if I win the lottery, I'm power-washing all of downtown."

The ambassadors said there are at least two of them daily and up to six at a time. They patrol from 1st to 9th Street and Normal to Flume Street, making sure everything is on the up and up.

"It's definitely a good thing," said Henry Cowan-Larkin, a Chico local who lives near downtown. "Chico's a nice place, but there's apparent drug use and everyone sees the homeless in downtown."

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