As the city changes and grows, balance is needed to maintain the ‘Clovis Way of Life’

City manager Luke Serpa discusses the current state of Clovis in an interview with Clovis Roundup on Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018. (Billy Xiong/Clovis Roundup)

According to the movers and shakers of Clovis, the biggest challenge of 2018 had to do with the success the city has experienced and maintaining that momentum in a positive way.

“Clovis continues to be a city where people want to live here, businesses want to locate here, people want to work here – and that’s driving a lot of growth in the city,” explained city manager Luke Serpa.

Clovis seems to have the recipe for a rapidly-expanding city: permits for the development of 800 new single family homes, Old Town office buildings being leased to new professionals, a recently-built cancer center and California Health Sciences University breaking ground this year – to name a few.

“And all of those are great signs because they show Clovis is growing and thriving,” Serpa added. “But, it brings a challenge in that, how do we maintain the old good parts of Clovis while we grow to this newer, much larger city?”

The answer? Continuing to invest in public safety, according to Serpa.

“Our police and fire continue to make this the safest city in the Valley,” he said. “I think that’s very important to maintaining the Clovis way of life.”

Despite a full workload as the city manager of an expanding city, Serpa looks forward to what lies ahead: “It’s an exciting time. It’s challenging, but they are good challenges.

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Growth and change was a theme for the Clovis Chamber of Commerce in 2018, as well.

CEO Greg Newman said he couldn’t list one single achievement for the year but “little successes along the way has equaled a very good year for the Clovis Chamber.”

On top of functioning with a fully flushed out team, Newman said, “We are more efficient and organized and my leadership and how I lead has improved.”

“I think on top of these new additions to the staff – and inheriting great staff – it’s been a very successful year,” he said. “We’re very pleased with the events we’ve put on this year.”

Newman named “Big Hat Days” as an event that had better crowds than any year prior.

“Big Hat Days worked right into ClovisFest. It was one of the best from what I’ve heard from attendees,” he said. “We are very proud. We are proud of our community and we are already planning Big Hat Days and ClovisFest 2019.”

Newman also cited the growth in membership at the Clovis Chamber as a big win in 2018.

Most of the Clovis Chamber members are small business owners in the area and Newman said they can look forward to something completely new in 2019.

“Now that we have a full staff, we can expand educational opportunities for our members,” he said.

This would include speakers, seminars and talks for small business owners about topics ranging from California labor laws to running your business more efficiently.

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Keeping with the theme, Lorenzo Rios, CEO of Clovis Veterans Memorial District, stated his biggest challenge in 2018 was “the remarkable success of some of our programs.”

“There were 1,700 children at ‘Spooktacular’ and our goal was to make sure that every child, from the first to the last had the same amazing experience,” Rios said.

Rios acknowledged that in 2018, “The city of Clovis has done a beautiful job of bringing this community together,” but had more to say about what 2019 has to offer.

“Next year what I’m looking forward to is opening the Heritage Center,” he said. “A place where we will be able to celebrate the true values of our community where we don’t just talk about them, we show the kids and some of our new community members the Clovis way of life.”

“We live it everyday but sometimes it’s hard to put into words,” Rios continued. “We are going to showcase the values, the family, our faith, our community and how we come together and how it [the community] has never been set back by adversity.”

Rios said, “this is one of those communities that stares adversity straight in the eye and decides to do something about it.”

Rios summarized the exciting additions in 2019: “You can look out for the Heritage Center opening up, a big Flag Day event (with CVMD partnering with the Clovis Elks Lodge) and all of the events that you saw in 2018 – but bigger.”

Clovis residents can also look forward to a new partnership with Clovis Adult School and CVMD in 2019.

“I look forward to 2019,” Rios concluded.

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It has been a very exciting year for Clovis, no doubt about that, and residents have much to look forward to in the new year.

Kelsey Lester-Perry
Kelsey is an award-winning reporter from San Jose who recently moved to Clovis. Her previous work experiences includes the Spartan Daily, La Voz Weekly, and the Gilroy Patch.