Gun range tops city’s wish list

By Ryan Lengerich: CNJ staff writer

City commissioners have prioritized what they feel are Clovis’ most pressing needs for the upcoming state legislative session. Those priorities include a regional gun range and outdoor recreational facilities.

The commission is one of several entities that submits needs to state legislators for consideration. Other area entities, including the public schools, county and Chamber of Commerce submit separate recommendations.

The 60-day Legislature will begin Jan. 18.

The city’s top priority, commissioners decided on Thursday, is $400,000 for a regional firing range for area law enforcement. Clovis Police Chief Bill Carey said law enforcement firing practice has been halted due to the recent closure of the city’s firing range because of expansion. Portales and Cannon Air Force Base have shut down their firing ranges as well, Carey said.

Carey said pitching a regional firing range, rather than a Clovis-only range, increases the likelihood for legislative support.

The commission’s second priority is $1 million for outdoor recreation. The commission has plans to renovate baseball facilities at Spencer Park. Additional soccer facilities are also planned around the city. City Manager Raymond Mondragon said the soccer field request is in response to a recent boom in soccer participation throughout Clovis.

“The importance for the soccer fields and baseball fields is to try and keep up with expanded recreational activity and quality of life,” Mondragon said.

The third priority set forth is $400,000 for renovation to Play Inc. In February the Legislature designated $375,000 for renovations at the facility.

This $400,000 would allow the city the freedom to renovate, remodel or demolish, then rebuild Play Inc.

In other business:
• Clovis beat out Hobbs for the right to host the 2008 New Mexico Municipal League Conference, which will bring together state and municipal officials. Mondragon expects the conference to bring in about 800 people to the city.

• The commission approved an incentive plan for the city’s fire department. Firefighters can earn extra income by reaching certain certification goals, fitness goals or by being fluent in Spanish. The program will impact this fiscal year’s budget by about $15,000.

• The commission awarded a bid for the reconstruction of West Seventh Street and related drainage improvements. The project was awarded at a $1,071,337 price tag, leaving more than a $131,000 deficit. That money will come from the city’s drainage cash reserve.

• Three members of the Planning and Zoning Board were selected. Tom Martin, Fire Chief Ron Edwards and Skip Overdier were chosen by commissioners.

• Rose Riley was selected to replace Thomas Cartwright on the Parks and Recreation Board. Cartwright stepped down from the position.

• Today was proclaimed “Eloise Edwards Day,” by Mayor Pro-tem Kevin Duncan. Edwards is retiring after serving as executive director of the eastern New Mexico region’s Red Cross since 1993. She has been with the Red Cross in Clovis since 1986.