Clovis News

Funds keep Clovis Rec Center open through March

Clovis Recreation Center, which was at risk of closing next month, has won a reprieve through March thanks to community donations and some unexpected city revenue.

The center was closed between August and October because of city budget cuts. The city scraped together enough money to reopen the center in October, but it was threatened with closure again in January unless fundraising efforts and recreation revenue met the costs of keeping it open.

The center fell short of meeting revenue requirements — about $42,300 for each two-month session — but the city found additional money.

Clovis Area Recreation officials raised $10,500 in donations from residents and companies and received another $17,000 from proceeds of a bond sale that financed the expansion of Clovis Community Medical Center. The city acted as a conduit for the hospital's financing and was rebated the money, said Robert Woolley, the city's finance director. Recreation revenue is expected to make up the difference.

After March, nothing is certain for the recreation center and its programs. Spring recreation season generates $75,000 in revenue, said Shonna Halterman, the city's general services manager. Clovis recreation programs serve up to 200,000 people each year.

But people will join other programs and be less likely to return if Clovis shut down and then revived its programs, she said.

A drop in city revenues has forced the city to slash its recreation division budget from $877,000 two years ago to $206,200 this year. Clovis has cut its recreation staff from nine employees two years ago to two employees now.

A tax-deductible fundraising effort through Clovis Community Foundation, "Friends of Clovis Area Recreation," has been created to generate money to keep recreation programs going.