By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer
The Cannon Air Force Base wing commander said more airmen than usual are seeking to live on base here, and builders and developers explained their plans for more housing during a meeting Tuesday.
Col. Stephen Clark and about 80 real estate agents, builders, developers and Clovis city and school officials met to talk about housing Tuesday at the Master’s Center in Clovis.
Mayor Gayla Brumfield said she called the meeting about five days ago so all groups involved could get answers.
The meeting was dominated by builders and developers who were eager to let the base officials know what and where they are building.
For instance, Kenneth Jones with Coldwell Banker talked about a 44-plot subdivision his firm is building west of the post office on 21st Street. Jones said houses will be springing up on that lot in 60 to 90 days.
They were also eager to hear what base personnel are looking for in terms of housing.
Clark said personnel are looking for homes between $120,000 to $180,000.
He also said a rental shortage in the area is presenting a problem. Brumfield mentioned various plans to build apartments and duplexes that would help ease the shortage.
“We are dealing with this as a region,” Brumfield said. “Portales and Clovis are willing to fix these issues. There is not a better group that will jump through hoops than this group here.”
Clark said 4,100 airmen are already stationed at Cannon and a population of 5,200 is projected. He said about 75 percent of incoming personnel are ranked as tech sergeants and below.
“Statistically, about two-thirds want to live off base. When you look at the statistics here, people find it more advantageous to live on base than to rent or buy in Clovis. That should tell you something about what they’re seeing or perceiving,” Clark said to the group.
“I can’t tell you what to build or where to build it, but I can tell you that these people look for the same things as you do. They look at schools, churches and shopping opportunities,” he said.
Clark said he found the meeting beneficial.
“Any time we can have a dialogue and clarify what everyone needs is a good thing,” Clark said. “This meeting is helpful because we get a feel for the pace of what’s going in.”