On February 1, City Council voted on the naming of the new buildings that will begin construction in the Clovis Landmark Square later this year.
The new senior center will be known as the “Clovis Senior Activity Center – A Smittcamp Family Legacy.” The new Transit Center will be called. “The William H. Harry Armstrong Transit Center.”
The Smittcamp Family Foundation pledged a donation of $1 million to the new senior center in honor of Earl and Muriel Smittcamp. As a condition of the pledge, the City of Clovis agreed to name the new senior center in honor of the Smittcamp Family.
The Smittcamp family and their foundation have a long history of helping out the community of Clovis and many other institutes in the Central Valley area.
The Smittcamp family were unable to attend February 1’s council meeting, but were in attendance during the Dec. 14 meeting when the Clovis Landmark Square was approved.
The City of Clovis decided to name the new transit center after longtime City Council member William “Harry” Armstrong. Armstrong retired from City Council in 2016 after serving as council member for 46 years.
Armstrong was the longest serving elected official in California before he passed away in January of 2018. He served as the chairman of the Fresno County Transportation Authority for 22 years and was extremely instrumental in the building of Highway 168 and Highway 180 east.
Armstrong’s children Tom and Jim Armstrong were in attendance at the council meeting and had the opportunity of speaking on behalf of their family.
Tom Armstrong spoke about his father’s legacy throughout Clovis and how the city was his father’s way of life.
“Harry would be humble and honored to be here today. To receive this honor would mean more to him than I can really express,” Armstrong said. “Our family once again, thank you (city council) for this high honor on his behalf and we wish everybody at the City of Clovis the best with the Smittcamp (Senior Center) and the Transit Center.”
Councilmember Lynne Ashbeck read a statement from Diane Webster Armstrong which talked about the love Armstrong had for Clovis and transportation. It went on to say that Armstrong was very happy when he found out the new transit center was going to be named after him.
Councilmember Vong Mouanoutoua said he wants to protect the names of these buildings. He made a request to the city attorney if there was anything the council could do to ensure the names will never be changed.
City Attorney Scott Cross said they couldn’t legally bind future City Council’s from changing the names of any city buildings. Cross said that changing any name will be the consideration of the future council and that there is nothing the council now could do to prevent a change.
Councilmember Jose Flores said he echoed Mouanoutoua’s sentiment not to change the names in the future. Because both the Smittcamps and Harry Armstrong were pillars of Clovis.
“We will preserve the names of Armstrong and Smittcamp, because they have left a legacy.” Flores said.
Councilmember Bob Whalen stated that Armstrong had left the City Council with a good legacy and that he still lives by Armstrong’s motto of doing the right thing.
Whalen mentioned that cancel culture is happening everywhere and that there is no guarantee on the future. However, he is not worried about it happening in Clovis.
The council voted unanimously to approve the naming of the senior center and the transit center.