Parks board approves grant application for shade structures
Last updated 8/17/2021 at 3:47pm
CLOVIS — As Clovis MainStreet’s Food Truck Friday has proved to be a popular option for Clovis residents over the last few months, the city’s parks and recreation committee wants a little less light on the subject.
Members of the Parks, Beautification and Recreation Committee on Monday approved what would be a joint grant application to put shade structures on the county-owned lot on the 800 block of Mitchell Street. City Manager Justin Howalt said the $50,000 grant from Outdoor Recreation Trails would require a 50% match, and the city and county would each chip in $12,500 if the application is successful.
MainStreet Executive Director Lisa Pellegrino-Spear, who also serves on the committee, said the top request she gets is for more shaded areas and personal umbrella purchases have their limits.
“Unfortunately,” Pellegrino-Spear said, “the wind has made pretty quick work of those.”
Pellegrino-Spear said she sought quotes for shaded structures before knowing grant details, and got quotes in the $60,000 range. She felt confident that she could go back to the vendors and get something comparable that falls within the grant range.
She added that she has had discussions with staff at the Clovis-Carver Public Library, and they would be interested in using the area for an outdoor story time when other events aren’t using the lot.
As a non-discussion item, City Manager Justin Howalt said the city is looking at some type of partnership with the county on another pair of parking lots. The county owns a lot it is still developing on the 600 block of Mitchell, and the city has the lot on the 500 block that could be spruced up. A partnership, Howalt said, could result in one of the lots being entirely parking and the other lot being partial parking with green space or some other feature to be determined.
“It’s a partnership with the county to do something so that it’s cohesive … so it drives people to our downtown,” Howalt said. “People spend more money at our downtown businesses, which means more gross receipts taxes.”
In other business at the Monday meeting:
• Parks and Recreation Director Russell Hooper said a KABOOM grant process has been halted for the year due to COVID-19 concerns. Hooper said he’s not sure if that meant Clovis will just be at the top of the 2022 priority list or if it will have to apply again.
“Fortunately, all we’ve lost is a little bit of time at this point,” Hooper said.
• The city is in the top 10 in a national contest from PetSafe, which would provide $25,000 towards a new dog park.
Hooper said the contest is based on votes at barkforyourpark.com, and website visitors are allowed one vote per day. Hooper isn’t sure if it’s solely based on numbers, and noted Detroit is one of the competitors.
“They’ve got a million people in their population bank; it’s not a fair contest (in the scenario),” Hooper said.
The potential second park would go on park space the city owns on 14th Street. The second park would supplement the first, and possibly allow the city to shutter its current location at Hillcrest Park for a few weeks so grass has a chance to grow.
Committee member Tom Martin admitted it wasn’t a fair question, but asked if the city had any way to measure dog park usage. Hooper and Howalt said there wasn’t, but other members gave anecdotal examples of friends who use the park daily or weekly. District 4 Commissioner Megan Palla noted the park must get usage or there wouldn’t be an issue growing grass.
• Howalt said work was starting to create a master plan for Ned Houk Park. Howalt said the “shotgun approach” to development hasn’t been an issue with all of the land available, but it’s probably in the city’s best interest to plan future assets while there’s no particular fight over space.
• Mayor Mike Morris asked how the committee was progressing on local requests to add pickle ball courts. Hooper said the tennis courts at Hillcrest and Greene Acres Park are possible sites, but the courts need complete resurfacing and the city is still seeking funding.
• Martin said the city needs to look at making improvements to its Par 3 course at Hillcrest, and that the city isn’t living up to its promises with the course’s current condition. Only one of the nine holes has a flat surface and the others are domed, Martin said, and that isn’t helpful for short game practice.
Colonial Park Golf Course Manager Keaton Aucutt noted the course was looking to make some changes over the next year, primarily on short game practice areas and improvements for women’s tee boxes.
• A public meeting is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Aug. 26 at the Ingram Room to discuss the Pappy Thornton Museum at Ned Houk Park.
• The next meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Sept. 20.