Hospital building to be sold to community services group

Clovis city commission approved sale of the Memorial Service Center to Matt. 25 Inc. to be turned into a ministry resource center. CNJ photo: Eric Kluth

By Jack King

The old hospital building between 12th and 13th streets will be sold to Matt. 25 Inc., a faith-based non-profit corporation that wants to turn the abandoned building into a “one-stop shop” for community services, city officials decided Thursday.
Five city commissioners voted unanimously to introduce an ordinance authorizing the sale of the building. Commissioners Catherine Haynes and Juan Garza were absent from the meeting.
Commissioners will consider approving the ordinance at their first meeting in January. Under the terms of the ordinance, the city would sell the building to Matt. 25 Inc. for $1.
Once the ordinance is approved, there will be 30 days during which it would be subject to petition and referendum by any Clovis resident wishing to challenge it. After another 45 days, the sale could go through, said City Attorney Dave Richards.
“I can’t think of any time when I have felt more proud than I do tonight,” Commissioner Lunell Winton said of her vote.
Matt. 25 Inc. board member Sid Strebeck said the idea of using the building came from evangelist Tony Evans, who on seeing it during a 2001 revival in Clovis, said, “That building needs to be something that serves the community.”
Board member Phil Teakell said Matt. 25 Inc. hopes groups like Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the Salvation Army and Lifesaver Food Bank will establish satellite offices in the building, making it a clearinghouse for services.
Board member David Petty said Matt. 25 Inc. doesn’t plan to undertake a ministry in the building, only to provide an infrastructure for service groups.
“We don’t think the public has really understood this has taken place. This is a big thing,” he said. But he added that 600 people already have called Matt. 25 members to offer their services in renovating the building.
In other business:
n Commissioners approved a $2,000 raise for commissioners and the mayor by a 3-2 vote. The raise would not go to commissioners or the mayor serving this term, they said. Winton and Commissioner Kevin Duncan voted against the raise. Commissioners Isidro Garcia, Robert Sandoval, Gordon Smith and Gloria Wicker voted for it.
n They approved a March 2 date for a municipal election that will include the election of four commissioners, the mayor and two city charter provisions. At their Dec. 18 meeting, commissioners will consider putting a city gross receipts tax increase on the same ballot.
n They approved using federal Community Development Block Grant funds to renovate Play Inc. recreation facilities. The CDBG program will provide up to $500,000 for the work, said city Grants Administrator Sandy Chancey.