The 7,500 square foot Clovis Centennial Plaza off Bullard and Pollasky avenues is nearing completion, and a ribbon cutting ceremony has been set for 11 a.m., Friday, April 24.
“We’d love the public to attend,” said Dwight Kroll, Director of Planning and Development Services for the City of Clovis. “I think this is important to the downtown area.”
Just one day after the dedication, the plaza will already be full of life as Rodeo Parade judges take their seats at the plaza to judge the floats at this popular Clovis event.
Construction began on the parking lot of the old Department of Motor Vehicles last December. The lot is being transformed into a park-like plaza that will host entertainment events and community gatherings such as the year round Saturday Market. The plaza also includes 69 parking spaces.
Taking center stage at the plaza is a 15-year-old Oak tree that was brought in on a flat bed trailer from Riverdale and planted in the middle of the plaza to represent the first of 100 Valley Oaks that were planted to celebrate Clovis’ centennial. The 45-foot tree seems to be doing well, according to Kroll, and is already starting to show buds in its new home. The tree should be full of life in time for the ribbon cutting in April.
“We’re getting a lot of positive feedback from everybody,” Kroll said. “This is really a game changer for downtown.”
Future plans for the plaza include acquiring a portable stage for musical events. There are also two lots off Pollasky, at the north and south side of the plaza, that will be construction-ready for development when the plaza opens.
The City of Clovis is currently accepting proposals for the two lots from the development community.
“We’re open to what they think would be the best thing to develop,” said Tina Sumner, Director of Community & Economic Development at the City of Clovis.
Potential uses for the lots include retail, restaurant and office space - even housing. However, there are Old Town design guidelines that require new developments to fit within the character of Old Town.
The deadline for development proposals of the two lots is March 27. The city will then begin reviewing the proposals to identify who they would like to work with for the sale and development of the property.
“One of the strengths of Old Town is that we have a really low vacancy rate,” Sumner said. “Properties lease up as fast as they become available, but that’s also kind of one of the weaknesses. When people contact us and say can you give me some locations that are available in Old Town, there just hardly isn’t anything. Development of these two pads as part of the Centennial Plaza project will give some additional retail and office space for the Old Town market, and I think it will be received very well.”
Kroll said the dedication of the plaza and the development of the two lots is important, because it is will help kick-off the city’s vision for downtown Clovis.
Central Clovis Specific Plan
The Central Clovis Specific Plan advisory committee, a group of 15 Clovis residents, is helping shape that vision. The group meets once a month with City of Clovis Planning Commission staff. They are working together to refresh the Central Clovis Specific Plan, which is part of the General Plan for Clovis.
“The first specific plan for Old Town was done in ‘83, and this is to update our design elements of Old Town and how it’s going to look 20 years from now,” said George Gonzalez, associate planner for the City of Clovis Planning Department. “The only thing to guide us into the development of Old Town is this specific plan.”
Currently the committee’s number one goal, according to Kroll, is to make an economically viable downtown resulting in higher property values, and the growth and attraction of successful businesses that encourage an environment that will draw interest from all generations.
“We have a great downtown,” Kroll said. “It’s recognized regionally and there are a lot of things to build upon to make Old Town successful and Clovis successful ... one of our goals in the general plan is encouraging tourism. People want to go to authentic locations that they don’t live in.”
For more information on submitting proposals for the two Centennial Plaza lots, visit www.ci.clovis.ca.us/