City OKs land lease agreement

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

The Clovis City Commission has a contract up in the air.

Commissioners, by an 8-0 vote, gave the tentative OK to a land lease agreement between the city and Bosbeck LLC for work at the Clovis Municipal Airport.

Bosbeck, with James Bostwick and Sid Strebeck as principal representatives, plans to acquire a ground lease of approximately 120,000 square feet at the airport, with a 30,000 square foot facility subleased to a tenant to perform air crew training.

Chase Gentry, executive director of the Clovis Industrial Development Corporation, said the tenant, which could not be revealed due to a non-disclosure agreement, would bring in 70 to 80 full-time jobs, with 40 four-week classes annually.

The students — estimated at 300-500 annually — would be housed in local hotels or eat in area restaurants.

The deal was recommended by the Civil Aviation Board in a special meeting Wednesday, but City Attorney David Richards said there wasn’t enough time to draw up a full contract.

That troubled Mayor Pro Tem Randy Crowder.

“I vowed to read everything,” Crowder said, noting he was completely behind the proposal, “and I feel like I’m voting on something that hasn’t even been written.”

Crowder’s sentiments did not surprise Richards or Commissioner Fred Van Soelen, who is on the aviation board.

“In fact,” Van Soelen said, “I mentioned Randy Crowder’s name at the meeting.”

In the motion, Van Soelen said the contract must be available for city commissioner review.

Gentry felt the business could be an anchor for development around the airport.

“I think if we can get this done and show them what we can do,” Gentry said, “other companies will be looking to Clovis.”

The city will also issue a letter stating it intends to do the following to make the facility usable by March 2010:

• Build a taxiway to service the facility, a project for the airport that was already approved and paid for through 2007 capital outlay dollars

• Provide an 8-inch water line for the training facility, which may be funded through Clovis Industrial Development Corporation.

• Upgrade an access road to the facility to a chip seal standard, which City Manager Joe Thomas said could be done by city crews for little cost.