The Clovis Parks, Recreation and Beautification Committee, following a long discussion on the future of soccer and softball in Clovis, made moves to help Clovis' local soccer associations have slightly bigger homes.
Space and money remain concerns for the board, which unanimously approved recommendations to:
- Keep the current location for the Clovis Youth Soccer Association at Hillcrest Park, while expanding areas for regulation-sized fields to allow the organization to attract more tournaments. The plan also includes removing trees and replacing them elsewhere in the park.
- Keep the Clovis American Youth Soccer Organization at its current location at the southwest corner of 14th and Norris streets, and give it control of land currently used as a rugby pitch.
Don Aragon, who runs the CYSA with his wife Brenda, said requests to use Hillcrest Park — where CYSA moved for its spring season — had concerns that moving both soccer organizations into the park would create issues because people also want running facilities, disc golf, a renovated Par 3 course and other sports in the space created by shutting down the Clovis Municipal Golf Course.
"Every time I turn around, somebody else wants a chunk of this Hillcrest Park," Don Aragon said. "For us to both move there would be really difficult."
The original plan for the golf course, Aragon and board member Donna Wilson said, was to house all soccer fields and use the old soccer spaces to add more softball fields. Wilson said after selling the public on that plan, it was a disservice to do something different.
Roger Jackson, who runs the Clovis Softball Association, said he would love to see soccer expand the way softball has in Clovis — which just hosted about 120 teams for the annual Custom Classic softball tournament. He just felt that everybody, including the two soccer organizations, needed to work together and find a plan that's best for everybody.
"We will survive," Jackson said. "We don't have to have another field."
Board member Charlie Corn asked if it would be difficult for AYSO and CYSA to share fields for large tournaments, if they knew far in advance when each would need more facilities than they have. Brian Stover of AYSO said the soccer organizations are often doing things at the same time (i.e. one has league play while the other has a tournament).
Rose Riley, a member of the board, said the soccer organizations have had to kick the can down the road for far too long, and moved for the plan the board approved.
The committee, which makes recommendations to the Clovis City Commission, plans to deal with finding areas for rugby and cricket — possibly at Bob Spencer Park — on its July meeting agenda. The committee tabled a request from Girish Pandya to create a cricket complex. A cricket field would require a circular area of grass with a diameter of at least 150 yards, with a hard central surface of about 700 square feet. Other than the central surface, which Pandya said could be covered in artificial turf, the field could serve as a field for other sports as well.