Commissioners concerned civic center is too small

By Mike Linn: CNJ News Editor

A multi-million dollar civic center will not be large enough to host high school graduations and large events like the Home and Garden Show.

That’s according to the project’s conceptual design, which the Clovis City Commission approved by a 6-2 vote Thursday night.

Commissioner Isidro Garcia and Fred Van Soelen cast the dissenting votes.

Garcia said project is “too expensive for what we’re getting.”
Van Soelen, on the other hand, said he doesn’t believe the center will serve its purpose if it’s not big enough to host graduations and big events like the Home and Garden Show.

“As proposed this is not what we need,” Van Soelen said. “It needs to be bigger.”

But commissioner Catherine Haynes said the design allows for an addition or second phase to be built at a later date that would hold the number of people needed for larger events such as graduation.

As approved, the design would also allow for an optional $750,000 full-service kitchen, which would help revenue of the center to be located northwest of the Client Logic building on a 27-acre site bordered by Seventh Street to the south and Schepps Boulevard to the west.

The full-service kitchen would bring the total cost of the project to roughly $5.75 million.

Through the 1 1/2 percent lodger’s tax and the 1/16 percent sales tax there would be roughly $2.7 million available by July 2005. The city would take out a loan to cover the rest of the project’s balance.

Haynes said revenue for the center would be greatly increased with the addition of the full-service kitchen.
The 30,000-square-foot center would include an 11,000-square-foot ballroom and two meeting rooms — 1,750 and 1,550 square feet, respectively.

In other business:

• The commission authorized Mayor David Lansford to vote against sending a letter to the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission from the Eastern New Mexico Rural Water Authority asking to sign a contract to begin buying Ute Lake water without federal funding.

Lansford is the only ENMRWA board member who voted against sending the letter, which calls for ENMRWA purchasing the water at a graduated rate of payment for the next 40 years.

He said buying water without federal authorization of the $307 million project is “inappropriate.”

“It never seems logical in my mind that we would pay for water we can’t make delivery on,” he said. “It just doesn’t make sense.”

The water is reserved for the Ute Water Project until Jan. 1, 2007.