I went to Chico State for 5 years, and it is a wonderful family and college town! It has grown a lot since I was there, but it was a great experience. I ended up moving back home to the Bay Area, as I was in my early twenties and wasn't able to support myself quite yet. Also, most of my friends had graduated and moved back home as well. I wouldn't hesitate to raise a family there, but our family is all here, so here is where we remain.
It's really HOT in the summer and really cold over the winter, but without snow. I wouldn't consider it gloomy. The spring and fall weather is awesome! Bidwell Park is a HUGE recreational area near the college campus. Back in the 90s, there was a ton of stuff to do. I'm sure it is still the same.
Good luck with the move. I hope you love your new hometown!