New center will fill city’s need for public venue

CNJ staff

Civic center proponent John Bourne was but a pup when the idea first surfaced to build a facility in Clovis back in the late 1950s. And Mayor David Lansford and many other proponents were not yet born.

Finally, as Lansford, now in his middle years, noted Tuesday morning, the momentous birth of the civic center has occurred. The turning of 20 dirt-laden shovels at the chilly groundbreaking ceremony took place at the site, which is just north of Clovis Community College across East Seventh Street.

It was a moment that, albeit long overdue, was worth the wait. And, fittingly, the launch of the 10-month, $6 million project comes during one of the city’s largest economic expansions in its 98-year history.

Congratulations go to far more proponents of the center than any one person could name without doing extensive research. But certainly local building contractors and several dozens of Clovis commissioners and mayors, among others, should be singled out for their commitment. This community is in great need of a decent-sized public venue, and while the new center is only going to start off around 30,000 square feet, it at least is the beginning of a facility that can be expanded as demand and money resources grow.

From a purely libertarian viewpoint, we wish it didn’t involve any tax dollars, as do many of the facility’s proponents. But that couldn’t be arranged in a timely way, so the center was scaled back to about half the original cost in order to fit the budget — and so work could finally begin!

After all, we finally had to live up to the newest Clovis’ slogan: “A City on the Move.”

The private-sector growth that Clovis and Curry County have experienced the last two years has been breathtaking and well deserved. Despite what some residents and/or civic center foes believe, a decent public venue has been sorely lacking here.

Take a moment and thank those civic leaders who, like the mayor, Bourne and many others aren’t pups any longer, but they still are believers in this community and this project. Thank them for their passionate decades of support and belief in a project that celebrates the momentum Clovis has today — a passion that will last for at least five more decades.