By Valerie Shelton, Editor
As Clovis continues to expand, keeping the small-town feel intact is a goal for city staff.
Already, the city has created the successful urban village of Loma Vista within the eastern portion of the Clovis. Now, the city is moving forward with plans to create a second urban village in the northwest. At a meeting held Dec. 14, city council members voted unanimously to name this new village Heritage Grove.
Clovis Planning and Development Services Director Dwight Kroll said staff has been in discussions about what to do in the northwest area for some time, beginning the planning process by meeting with local businesses in that area to find out what resonates with the northwest Clovis. In coming up with a name for an urban village there, Kroll said maintaining authenticity was the goal as many they spoke to described the agricultural and cultural heritage in that community.
“There were various cultural groups including Japanese Americans, Italian Americans and Mexican Americans that came there to settle and farm and really create a livelihood within the context of Clovis,” Kroll said. “One of the things that we strive for in our branding process is to maintain authenticity rather than just generate names or themes that are just coming out of the air. We think Clovis has been very successful in preserving authenticity in such areas as our downtown area and in Loma Vista, where we looked at architectural styles that were reminiscent of the old farm buildings out there and the farming heritage and Loma specifically, which was the home place for the McFarland family. There, we tried to incorporate that both in name and in a logo so there is actually some depth to that community as it begins to develop. This is an issue we began to face with the northwest urban village.”
After meeting with members of the building industry and property owners in the northwest area, Kroll said the idea of Heritage Grove stuck, as it relayed back to both the agricultural and cultural heritage of that area. As part of the process, city staff met with P-R Farms, a prominent property owner and business in the northwest area. It was through them that the name and logo for Heritage Grove was created.
“P-R Farms was doing some of its own branding on some of their potential developments and they included city staff in the discussion and it was interesting because we pretty much had parallel tracks,” Kroll said “They were very much interested in maintaining the cultural and agricultural heritage in that area and they hired a designer named Bruce Hale, who has done a lot of branding, for example he did Eddie Bauer and Harry and David. He is a recognized designer that P-R Farms was working with and I think they have used him for some of their products like Enzo Olive Oil. In discussions with P-R farms, they came up with a brand that they liked very much for branding part of their community and they offered it to the city of Clovis as a trademark for the city’s use for the northwest urban village.”
Kroll said it was very generous of P-R Farms to offer the brand. Already, Kroll said, it has been shared with other property owners within the northwest area and all the feedback he has received about the name and logo has been positive.
The only concern discussed about the name and logo was that P-R Farms would be using the logo as well at some of its properties on the west side of Willow, which is technically in Fresno.
Kroll assured council members that the use in Fresno would be limited to very specific APN numbered properties and although those are in Fresno, the effect will virtually be the same as that of Clovis Community College and Clovis North High School, which also land on the Fresno side of Willow but are associated with Clovis.
“Having a commonality of theme even though we have different is one of those things that I think anchors that community,” Kroll said. Also, he added, having the name on both sides of the street establishes the intersection at Willow and Shepherd as the gateway to the Heritage Grove community.
Mayor Pro Tem Bob Whalen said he loves the idea of having these tight-knit communities within the sphere of Clovis.
“I think it is important for communities like this to have an identity,” Whalen said. “Clovis now has over 100,000 people and this is a way to get that small town feel and identity.”