Plans for civic center will expand library, senior and transit services

All residents of Clovis – especially active seniors and public transportation users – can expect even better service in the community, due to plans for a new civic center that were approved earlier this month. The site, located on 5.7 acres near the corner of Clovis and Third avenues, will be used to house a transit hub, new activities center and city library.

According to City Manager Rob Woolley, the transit hub will circulate both the Stageline and Roundup bus lines. The hub will also include administrative offices and a waiting room for riders.

“We want this new location to be the pride of Clovis,” says Woolley. “It’s a great location, and this center will be a great amenity for the community. We are planning to serve this growing population. This move is one of the necessary changes to provide better service in the future.”

Aside from the transit hub, the city plans to sell the current building that houses the Clovis Senior Activities Center and move it to the new civic center. According to General Services Manager Shonna Halterman, the move is just the beginning. The activities center hopes to use the funds from the sale of the building to help expand services to community residents over the age of 50.

“If someone is over the age of 50, they are invited to participate in all of the activities here at the center. We hope the new location can add even more to what we already offer. We would love to put in a gym here – all of our participants want to stay healthy and active. A gym would help so many of them achieve their fitness goals,” said Halterman.

As for the library, the move will offer more room for expanded services and a great downtown location. According to Woolley, the current library is contained in 8,000 sq. ft. For a population this size, however, there should be two 30,000 sq. ft. libraries serving the community. The first of these libraries will be housed in the new civic center, and the second will be built at a future date.

“The county (of Fresno) is responsible for the design of the library, so we are meeting after the first of the year to determine what kind of funding is available,” said Woolley. In fact, fundraising is the first item in order to move this project ahead.

While there is $22 million in state funding allocated for the transit hub, the city is also seeking Measure B funding for the library. They will also be working with proponents of the project to raise funding. Vice chair of the Clovis Community Foundation and the City of Clovis’s previous planning and development director, John Wright, is one of those supporters.

“I have been in meetings about this project for the last few years, and I believe this is one of those opportunities we can take and create something that extends beyond the original plan,” said Wright. “We want to work with community partners and stakeholders to see where we can take this. Often I think we set our sights too low, and maybe settle for something smaller than we should. This center could expand based on the partnerships that we form.”

Plans for the civic center are tentatively set to break ground around winter 2015.

Depending on the funding available and the partnerships we forge, this project could be set to begin this time next year. Right now we have to focus on getting the funding,” Woolley said.