Commissioners express concern about Parks & Rec board

By Tonya Fennell: CNJ staff writer

Two Clovis city commissioners are calling for changes to the Parks and Recreation Board because of what they believe to be a lack of communication from members.

Commissioners Lunelle Winton and Fred Van Soelen proposed an ordinance at an Aug. 10 commission meeting that would change the current board makeup of seven citizens and Van Soelen. The two commissioners have recommended the board be changed to include four city commissioners and four citizen members with both groups representing all four districts within Clovis. The city manager would also serve on the board under the proposed plan.

The approval of the ordinance was tabled to give the current board time to review it.

“There has been a breakdown in communication (between the commission and the board),” Winton said, “and I would like to see better representation all around.”

Rose Riley, who has served on the Parks and Recreation Board for two years, said she thinks Winton’s concerns are valid.

“The trouble is the commissioners don’t have the time (to attend board meetings),” Riley said. Riley also believes adding citizens from each district would not improve the board. “We (Parks and Recreation Board members) care about all the parks,” she said, “not about districts.”

According to Clovis City Manager Joe Thomas, the Parks and Recreation Board was set up to make recommendations to the City Commission on activities and planning related to parks.

Winton said the board has a large operating budget and is important because the citizens of Clovis deserve recreational facilities. The commissioner would like to see those funds used to expand the Play Inc. swimming pool by constructing a small pool that would be used strictly for rehabilitation purposes and water aerobics classes.

Riley said the board is working on a comprehensive plan that includes improving the infrastructure of Play Inc., developing additional soccer fields and adding playground equipment to neighborhoods. The board would also like to see additional swimming pools in Clovis, she said.

Parks and Recreation Board Co-chairman John Olivarez said the group plans to hold a special meeting to discuss how to better communicate with the commissioners. Olivarez has served on the board since March.
“I’m still trying to get a feel for the group,” he said, “but I have been pleased with our results.”