Hotel Clovis draws query

By Eric Butler: CNJ Correspondent

Robyne Beaubien, executive director of Clovis MainStreet, told County Commissioners Tuesday a developer has inquired about turning Hotel Clovis into senior low-income housing and retail and office space.

“We’re excited that there’s a possibility out there,” Beaubien said.

“That’s the first I heard about it,” County Commissioner Pete Hulder said after the meeting. “It’d be great if they could find someone to come in and do something with it — and I know the city would appreciate it, too.”

The city of Clovis owns the hotel, which was closed in 1983.

Clovis MainStreet receives funding from the county and, as a consequence, the group gives reports on its activities to the commission around two to four times a year. Beaubien said the interested party in the Hotel Clovis, whom she declined to identify, made contact with her group less than two weeks ago.

“He’s done other projects in Clovis, I can tell you that. It’s just a prospect. It’s nothing for sure,” said Beaubien, who added that she didn’t think the developer in question has toured the building.

Beaubien also informed the commission of an upcoming presentation by the University of New Mexico’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research. The public forum Tuesday will include an overview of Clovis’ economic strengths and weaknesses — as viewed by the UNM group.

Also at the county commission meeting:

Commissioners approved a preliminary $9.5 million operating budget for fiscal year 2007-08, which is a 5.6 percent increase from last year, according to County Finance Director Mark Lansford.

Lansford said the preliminary budget includes an average 3-percent wage increase for county employees. The final budget is due July 31.

Assistant County Manager Lance Pyle informed commissioners the county’s request to the state for assistance in helping defray the cost from the March 23 tornado was denied.

The state’s Department of Finance and Administration said that the county had sufficient cash on hand to cover the $56,339 requested for road repair and other emergency work, according to Pyle.