Though it took little action in its inaugural meeting, the city's new Parks and Recreation Committee had a full slate.
The committee, which phased out the Parks and Recreation Board, the Ned Houk Park Board and the Keep Clovis Beautiful Committee, met for about an hour and 20 minutes at City Hall Monday night.
"The three boards this replaces dealt with specific areas of parks and recreation," City Manager Joe Thomas said. "In looking at it, we found there was some overlap. As the meetings progress, it's going to be a varied agenda."
Topics covered included park facilities reports and various other city activities.
The committee is an advisory board, which will make recommendations to the city commission to implement policy. Thomas said the commission has no obligation to approve or even discuss recommendations, but noted that advisory board endorsements do carry some weight.
The committee is comprised of:
• One city commissioner from each district (Juan Garza, Len Vohs, Fidel Madrid and Chris Bryant in Districts 1, 2, 3 and 4, respectively).
• A citizen from each district —Charlie Corn Jr., Roper Belew, Wilma Fulgham and Rose Riley. Fulgham and Riley were not in attendance.
• An at-large member, representing a rotating representative of a facility that uses city parks and recreation services (Donna Wilson).
• Ex-officio members including Thomas, Parks and Recreation Director Bill Bizzell, Mayor David Lansford and a representative from Clovis Municipal Schools. Lansford had prior engagements and could not attend, and Athletic Director Brian Stacy attended on behalf of CMS.
• The board members will serve two-year terms. To allow for staggered terms, the first terms for Riley and Fulgham will be one-year terms.
The committee took no action beyond board organization, with the following taking place at the meeting:
• Madrid was named chairman of the committee. Garza had nominated Vohs, given his prior work with the Keep Clovis Beautiful Committee, but Vohs declined due to his chairmanship of the Public Works Committee.
• Belew was named vice chairman. Thomas said there was no language in the ordinance requiring commissioners or citizens be in the chair positions, but members thought it was wise to have one of each.
• Bizzell reported on the Youth Recreation Building, and plans to present the city commission with rental rates during its April 5 meeting.
"We get calls daily for rental of the facility," Bizzell said, "and we haven't even released rates."
If Bizzell's recommendation is accepted, the YRB would be available for $50 an hour, for a two-hour minimum, with a refundable $100 cleaning deposit.
He said the local chapter of the YMCA is in negotiations for a day camp to run weekdays May 29 through Aug. 10, and would cover utilities and negotiated user fees. Bizzell said the maximum the YMCA estimates is 100 sign-ups for day camp. The facility would be available to rent after 4 p.m. weekdays and on weekends during the day camp period.
• Bizzell said he was surprised with how well the dog park had been received so far, and said water stations would be coming soon. The water would come from a system used for the splash pad, which Bizzell said should be completed by May 1 at the location of the former Hillcrest Park pool just south of the dog park.
Madrid asked about adding shade areas to the park, to which Bizzell said no budget existed for such additions. Wilson asked how to name the park in somebody's honor. Bizzell said that's the type of decision the committee could suggest, and said it could be named after somebody who provides extra amenities to the park — in the same way the YRB is named in honor of Joe and Charlene Sisler, who through their charitable trust left $500,000 to the city for the purpose of renovating the building.
• A plan to reopen the Par 3 golf course at Hillcrest Park was noted by Bizzell. Two holes of the course are currently in spaces set aside for picnic areas next to the pond adjacent to Norris Street. Bizzell said two replacement holes will be put on parts of the fifth, eighth and ninth holes of the former Clovis Municipal Golf Course, shut down after the city bought what is now Colonial Park Golf Course.
"Until we get the two holes up to shape," Bizzell said, "we'll allow people to play the regular Par 3."
There will be a kiosk system where golfers will pay fees — $1 for children 17 and younger, $2 for everyone else — to use the course. Bizzell said he trusts golfers enough for an honors system, and said the city would spend much more on an employee than it would ever recoup in user fees.
Garza suggested some type of requirement for adult supervision if the child is 10 or younger.
"They think the fence (around the park) is a babysitter," Garza said, "and it's not."
• Bizzell updated committee members on the golf course. He said the RFP process is under way to put management in place as of May 1, and bids are coming in for labor on replacement of the sprinkler system at the course. He said the pool at the course could not be reopened, because a public pool brings in many more regulations than a privately-owned pool, as was the case when the course was Chaparral Country Club.
Stacy asked when the clubhouse would be available for events. He said he has already been asked about it by many people around town — most pressing, his wife. Their son is getting married in June and they need to find a place for the reception.
"Right now, it sounds like I need to look for an alternate place," Stacy said.
Thomas said a mid-June event should be safe to book, but he wasn't in the position to make such guarantees.
• City Engineer Justin Howalt educated members about the city's recycling program.
The city has recycling collection points at Wal-Mart, Albertsons and the 21st Street U.S. Postal Service building. The bins are for cardboard, plastic and tin cans. Howalt noted that the city didn't want to undercut aluminum can recycling projects at area schools.
Cardboard and cans are recycled locally, while plastic is sorted and baled at the landfill and sent to Albuquerque when city staff has other business there. Tires are recycled through a business in Denver City, Texas, which picks up the tires.
Corn asked if the cardboard bin allowed for paper, and was told it did not.
"I've been looking for a year to find out where to take paper," Corn said. "I feel bad throwing it out."
Thomas said the city previously worked with a company to recycle paper, but discontinued the process when it discovered city documents were showing up on the back side of grade school test papers. The city previously worked with a bottler in Denver to recycle glass, but said the company charged for freight and the process became too expensive due to oil price increases.
"Recycling is a good thing, and it frees up space in the landfill," Thomas said. "But it isn't free. You reach a point where space in the landfill is worth so much, and if it's cheaper to fill that landfill space with recyclable materials, so be it."