‘Par 3′ golf course renovations top parks priority list

Kevin Wilson

In line with approving the start of a bid process for fixing the sprinkler system at Colonial Park Golf Course, the Clovis City Commission on Thursday directed Parks and Recreation Director Bill Bizzell to push the “par-3” golf course renovation at Hillcrest Park to the top of his park renovation priority list.

The par-3 changes are part of a lengthy list of changes and improvements taking place at the former Clovis Municipal Golf Course, which was shut down late last year to be repurposed into numerous recreation projects. The most recent, the city’s dog park, was ceremonially opened with a Monday afternoon ribbon cutting. Other renovations include soccer fields and a splash pad at the old Hillcrest Park pool.

During the planning process, the commission agreed to keep the “Par 3” course at Hillcrest Park, but move two holes away from the lake area — which the commission felt was better suited as a family picnic area.

Bizzell said sprinkler system upgrades would be necessary at the 18-hole Colonial Park Golf Course — the purchase of which freed up the nine-hole municipal course for other endeavors last June.

The upgrades, Bizzell said, would lead to separate shutdown periods for the front nine and back nine holes. He said not every hole would be affected by the work, but shutting down nine holes at a time would be most sensible for golfers used to nine- and 18-hole rounds.

Commissioner Randy Crowder conceded the work at the Colonial Park Golf Course was necessary, but, “I think it would be prudent to immediately get that par-3 ready.”

Mayor Gayla Brumfield agreed, noting that residents are often under the impression that the “par-3” is gone as good, and she tells them otherwise.

Bizzell said before proceeding, he needed commission direction on what type of fencing to include. Commissioner Bobby Sandoval suggested the course be renovated without any fencing and the commission could “play it by ear.”

Under those circumstances, Bizzell said the timeline for opening the nine-hole, par-3 course would be early May. He didn’t know when the sprinkler system upgrades would take place, noting that the bid process is yet to begin.

The sprinkler upgrades would be paid through money the city received by renewing an existing parks and recreation bond last June for approximately $6 million. Of that total, the city spent $2.81 million purchasing the 18-hole course, then called the Chaparral Country Club.

Also at the meeting:

• The commission received an update on street projects from City Engineer Justin Howalt.

Howalt said the next big project coming would upgrade Llano Estacado from Prince to Norris streets, including storm drainage and Americans with Disabilities Act upgrades.

Two similar projects — Martin Luther King Boulevard from 21st Street to Llano Estacado, and Norris Street from Llano Estacado to Wilhite Road — would cost $4 million to $5 million each, with similar renovations, a conversion to either a three- or four-lane road and bike/walking paths. Neither is funded, Howalt said, but showing initiative on doing design work will be an asset to the city when state dollars are doled out for road upgrades.

• A budget change of $20,000 was approved for the Youth Recreation Building. The money will cover additional plumbing, cement and landscaping work, and purchase furniture. If the YMCA uses the area, Commissioner Randy Crowder said, renting the furniture would be included in whatever agreements it made with the city to use the building.

Brumfield said a ribbon cutting for the YRB was at most two weeks away.

• The commission allowed the transfer of a generator to the city of Texico. The generator was no longer being used after upgrades to the city wastewater plant, and will be used as a backup power source for Texico’s water system.

• A budget transfer of $201.069 was for cost participation in the extension of the sewer line between Prince and Thornton streets along Wilhite Road. The measure was approved 6-0, with Crowder abstaining because Howalt presented new financial numbers that he had no time to research.

• A budget transfer of $12,960 to replace lighting in the Clovis Civic Center parking lot was approved.

• Terry Moberly was appointed to replace Lunell Winton on the city’s public works committee, Gene Woodcock was reappointed to the Commission for Older Adults and Rhonda Bargman was elected to replace Adam Warren on the planning and zoning committee.

• The Clovis Youth Soccer Association was granted permission to play spring season games at Hillcrest Park, starting with a tournament on the last weekend of April.

• Two street closures were approved: 10 a.m.-11 a.m. May 5 on Main Street from Marshall Junior High to Grand Street for a motorcycle awareness parade; and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday on 15th Street between Cameo Street and the Gatewood Apartments for a welcome home party.

• The next meeting is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. Feb. 23.