By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer
The phones at North Plains Mall have been ringing constantly, property manager Cindy Banister said. In the past week, Banister said she has fielded anywhere from 50 to 100 calls — all inquiries concerning the approaching Base Realignment and Closure regional hearing.
At the North Plains Mall, in the vacant space next to Dillard’s, the color-coded, coveted event passes will handed out, one-by-one, on a first-come, first-served basis. The distribution begins at 5:30 p.m. today.
“We can accommodate the crowd. That’s the good thing,” said Banister, who plans to set up chairs for those who may have to wait hours to obtain a pass. She predicts residents will quickly snatch up the approximate 4,000 passes that are available between Clovis and Portales.
Those who do obtain passes will be seated in one of five venues. The main hearing location will the Marshall Junior High School Auditorium. Alternate locations with video feeds include two Marshall gyms, the 16th and Pile Church of Christ Auditorium and the church’s Fellowship Hall.
A concealed box will hold the passes. The color of the ticket drawn will determine where a person sits, said Lisa Spencer, Clovis Community College’s director of marketing and community relations.
“This will be such an interesting and fascinating event. We’re able to participate in the BRAC hearing — we’re able to see the live hearing. It is a fabulous opportunity that we wanted to be completely fair to everyone. That way no one can say ‘This person got in because they know someone.’ It is fair for every citizen,” Spencer said Tuesday from her office.
Those who wish to draw a ticket tonight should come equipped with a form of photo identification. Some family members may be assigned separate seating areas. Spencer said residents are, however, allowed to swap tickets.
Drawers will be asked to sign a list to prevent the same person from receiving more than one pass, Spencer said. The lists, she said, will be used by security forces at the hearing.
Chief of the Clovis Police Department Bill Carey said forces will be on hand at the mall for the drawing, as well as at the hearing itself.