City adopts downtown renewal strategy

By Jean Verlich: CNJ news editor

Downtown Clovis is one step closer to renewal.

City Commissioners on Thursday night adopted a Metropolitan Redevelopment Area Plan for the downtown area that enables the city to acquire, own, lease, improve and dispose of properties in order to attract economic activity.

Bob McCabe and Phyllis Taylor with Sites Southwest of Albuquerque presented an overview of the plan that designates the area of Main Street between First and 14th streets and one to three blocks on both sides as the Metropolitan Redevelopment Area.

Clovis is only the second city to take this route for redevelopment, Taylor said.

Doing so opens door for financial incentives both private and public, she said.

“The city will never condemn property without paying fair value,” Clovis Mayor David Lansford cautioned.

Calling condemnation the “option of last resort,” Lansford said, without having such authority the “entire plan can be stymied.”

It would be “a plan without teeth,” he said.

A plan is required as part of the state Metropolitan Redevelopment Code.

The next step is for the city to create a redevelopment agency and a review board or assign the duties to existing ones.

McCabe called Clovis’ downtown “unique in New Mexico,” telling commissioners that the city is “very fortunate” to have such a historic area.

In other business, commissioners:

• Adopted a littering ordinance that sets lower fines of $50 to $300 for common items such as paper and garbage, and establishes a new hazardous litter category with fines of $300 to $500. Hazardous litter includes cigarettes and human waste.

Lansford said he hopes the ordinance will enable law enforcement to be more effective since the fines are “more sensible.”

• Passed an ordinance establishing minimum stormwater management requirements for commercial and residential development that combines and repeals three ordinances and clearly spells out new retention/detention requirements. The ordinance defines the preferred order of five practices, with retention and detention last.

Commissioner Isidro Garcia said developers often “take the cheapest way” instead of the way that may be best.

Public Works Director Harry Wang said it would be wise to require developers to go through the five methods and discuss their reasons for choosing one over the others during the approval process.

• Recognized Debby Blankenship, police department dispatch supervisor, as “Supervisor of the Quarter” and Nick Gonzales, sanitation truck driver, as “Employee of the Quarter.” Each received a clock.

n Heard from Marv Schultz, administrator of Retirement Ranch, about an adjacent adult residential care facility to be constructed called Prairie Meadows.

Lansford proclaimed April 19 as “Arbor Day” and April 21 as “Leadership New Mexico Day.”