Citizens request splash pad delay

Kevin Wilson

A group of citizens requested city commissioners hold off on a plan to convert the long-unused Hillcrest Park Pool into a splash pad. But commissioners were adamant they’d already dove in headfirst.

More than an hour of conversation took place regarding the pool’s recreation as a splash pad, one part of the city’s parks and recreation master plan created in 2000 to create more recreation opportunities for families.

Clovis native Adrian Chavez, who now lives in Albuquerque, spoke to the commission as representation for a citizens action group that he said had 27 members. The group, Chavez said, asked the commission to hold off on any work on the pool for a month.

“We don’t feel there was a lot of information given to the public in detail,” Chavez said.

Mayor Gayla Brumfield discussed the city’s parks plan, which was set into motion when the city refinanced a parks and recreation bond in June for more than $6 million. It enabled the city to buy the Chaparral Country Club and make that the city’s course, then take the Clovis Municipal Course and repurpose it into open park space — including sports fields, walking trails, a dog park and an expansion of the city zoo.

Many of those changes recommendations were made by a quality of life task force created in 2009. Brumfield said the repurposing of the pool into a splash pad was a recommendation, partially made on the knowledge that a new Hillcrest pool would have to start from scratch.

“We’ve had numerous public meetings, several town hall meetings,” Brumfield said. “The Hillcrest Park Pool has sat there for about 25 years with nothing going on except weeds.”

Brumfield said the city has two other pools — an indoor pool at the Wellness Center, and an outdoor pool at Potter Park — and is working on funding for two additional pools in future Wellness Center construction phases.

“I have lived here almost all of my life and I swam in that pool,” Brumfield said. “I loved that pool … but things change and we can’t put a pool back there.”

Brumfield went through a slideshow of the park plan, including an artist’s rendering of the splash pad.

City Purchasing Agent David Boswell said purchase orders had already been executed for the splash pad, which had a groundbreaking ceremony early in October.

Former City Commissioner Gloria Wicker, who has addressed the current commission numerous times about the pool, reiterated the group’s concerns, though she was there to ask a question about an agenda item on the city seeking funding for median improvements along Grand Street.

“I do not belong to this group, I did not know of it,” Wicker said. “I will probably fast be a member of it.”

Lucinda Fritz, 18, said the conversion to a splash pad for young kids simply shortchanged teenagers.

“There’s plenty of things for young children to do,” Fritz said. “There’s hardly anything for teenagers to do.”

Commissioner Bobby Sandoval asked Fritz what kind of things she’d like to see in Clovis. She said a teen center would be a better option than the parking lot in front of Hobby Lobby and Hastings.

Before moving on to a small agenda, Brumfield said her best advice was to “get involved,” attend commission meetings and volunteer to be on the committees that make recommendations to the commission.

Also at the meeting:

All commissioners were in attendance. Dan Stoddard attended via telephone.

Agenda items included:

• A change to the par-3 course at the Clovis Municipal Golf Course. The course, which will be converted into park space following the Oct. 29 “End of an Era” tournament, includes a nine-hole par-3 that area golfers wanted to keep in order to educate youth about the game.

The commission took a tour of the course nine days ago, and felt the north area of the course would be better used for picnicking.

The commission voted to keep five current holes in operation, convert the remaining north holes to picnic areas and create new holes to keep the course at nine holes.

• Approval to apply for New Mexico Transportation Enhancement funding for median improvements on Grand Street. City Manager Joe Thomas said the work was targeted between Main Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard, but the scope of work would depend on the amount of funding acquired.

• A motion to table a decision on fencing. Commissioner Randy Crowder requested the tabling, based on a need to see an actual site plan for the park.

Crowder said he would feel differently depending on what features would be along Seventh Street as to whether the park would need fencing.

• Clovis MainStreet Director Robyne Beaubien said the organization was getting set to move the train car located at Hillcrest Park to the model train museum in the next few weeks.

She said following the renovation of the Hotel Clovis, she’d like to have a discussion about the future of the Hartley House.

• Brian Daly of New Mexico American Water said lower temperatures are lowering water demand. The average October daily water usage, Daly said, is 6.8 million gallons. The utility’s capacity is 10.8 million gallons daily.