Commission discusses Hotel Clovis, parks plan

Kevin Wilson

A special Clovis City Commission meeting scheduled generally to deal with Hotel Clovis renovation matters ended up putting just as much attention on upcoming parks and recreation additions.

The commission quickly tackled a six-item agenda Tuesday afternoon, approving all items on unanimous votes inside of 20 minutes.

The special meeting was mainly called to approve an ordinance vacating of alley rights-of-ways around the Hotel Clovis.

The ordinance was introduced during a special meeting Aug. 16, and helps the developer, Tierra Realty of Taos, meet conditions by a Wednesday deadline for Mortgage Finance Authority tax credits.

The ordinance closes two half-block areas to traffic around the hotel. Utility companies would still have access, and a vehicle can still travel between Grand Avenue and Pile Street using alleys by the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce on Grand and behind the Wells Fargo Bank drive-thru area on Pile.

The commission also voted to close the block of Second Street between Main and Pile streets, beginning Thursday and effective through Dec. 31, 2012, when the hotel renovation is expected to be complete.

Building Safety Director Pete Wilt told the commission the request was made by crews working on the hotel. Commissioner Fred Van Soelen asked if such a closure would affect the bus station at the intersection of Pile and Second streets. Wilt said proper communication was being made with the bus depot, and other commissioners said the depot conducts its operation on Pile Street.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the hotel is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sept. 8.

More questions went to Parks and Recreation Director Bill Bizzell, when an item was introduced to set preliminary parks and recreation priorities.

Following its purchase of Chaparral Country Club — since renamed Colonial Park Golf Course — the city has $3.03 million between bond money it financed over the summer and a $500,000 grant from the Sisler Foundation, and would have $130,000 left assuming the expenditures that were approved.

Suggested projects are:

• $200,000 in repairs and improvements to Chaparral Country Club

• $400,000 for the Youth Recreation Building

• $675,000 for a splash park and restroom upgrades at Hillcrest Park

• $1 million for zoo and parking expansions

• $400,000 for youth sports fields, $25,000 for Iris Arbor walking trails

• $50,000 for walking trials at Dennis Chavez Park

• $100,000 for a T-ball field and football field at Potter Park

• $50,000 for a dog park

Commissioner Juan Garza asked how many youth sports fields were designated for Hillcrest Park, which will have open park space to work with when the nine-hole Clovis Municipal Course is shuttered. City Manager Joe Thomas said much of that depends on what grants the city can get from other sources. Garza responded that he wanted to be able to assure residents that Potter Park would also receive fields.

Commissioners also asked Bizzell about a potential dog park. Bizzell said the original plan was to use land along 14th Street, slightly west of Yucca Middle School. But a group of citizens tasked with finding a dog park location objected because of a lack of trees or drainage. The current plan, Bizzell said, is to use a combination of what now forms the green for the No. 2 hole and the tee box for the No. 3 hole.

Bizzell said an “end of the era” tournament for the municipal course would be scheduled when the commission decides on an official closure date for the course.

In other business at the meeting, commissioners approved:

• A memorandum of understanding for the city and Curry County to share in costs for a $13,000 upgrade to audio/video infrastructure at the library’s north annex.

The city will pay for $9,000, the county will pick up $4,000 and the entities will each cover half of the monthly expenses.

• An amendment to the lease agreement for Hotel Clovis. Minor clarifications are made, and MFA was added to notice provisions.

• Sale of a striping machine owned by the public works department to San Bar Construction of Albuquerque for $83,300. The item was pulled from the Aug. 18 meeting. City Manager Joe Thomas said a bidder who had pulled out called him the day of the meeting to express interest in bidding again. A few days later, the bidder pulled out again.