City civic center plan continues

By Jack King

The Clovis civic center steering committee will report its progress in developing plans for a civic center July 17 to the City Commission.
Mayor David Lansford, a committee member, said the group will ask the commission to approve building the civic center on a 27-acre site on the corner of Schepps Boulevard and 7th Street, but has not decided on a design for the building.
Bobby Newman, chairman of the group’s conceptual design subcommittee, said the steering committee has determined that the civic center should be a building the community can use on a frequent basis, capable of hosting small meetings of between 30 and 60 people, as well as larger buildings.
Newman said the committee is still researching how a city civic center should be designed, but already has talked to some towns the size of Clovis.
“What we’re finding is the predominant use is for small events, such as church groups, weddings, the Kiwanis Club, as well as a Realtors convention or the state Municipal League. We’ll need a floor area, with seating, capable of holding around 2,000. But it needs to be of a configuration where it can be divided, or have rooms off to the sides for small meetings. We won’t know exactly what the design will be until we talk to an architect,” he said.
Jay Gurley, head of the group’s budget, finance, operations and marketing subcommittee, said the city has approximately $1.6 million on hand, collected from a one-quarter of a cent gross receipts tax enacted in 1996. It also could raise about $3.5 million by enacting a general obligation bond. The two would give the city a total of $5.1 million with which to build the civic center, he said.
An alternative would be to raise at least part of the money through private donations, he said.
The operation of the civic center could be funded by lodgers’ taxes and users fees, he added.
Newman said the committee plans to continue researching the kinds of events the center should be designed to host.
He said the committee hopes to have a design and use plan ready to show Clovis residents in six months at the latest.
“The community can rest assured that they will know what it looks like and what it will be used for before one shovel of dirt is turned. And we’ll do our homework. We’ll have answers and be able to explain why we did what we did,” he said.
The committee will also ask the commission to issue a request for proposals for an architectural design at the July 17 meeting.