By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Center bringing in more than expected
It's been nearly a year since the Ceres Community Center opened its doors. City officials predicted that the center, like most every other similar center in other California cities, would be a money pit.

So how has the center been in terms of a financial burden to the city?

As predicted the center is not bringing in revenue to match expenses. But revenue has been much better than predicted. The center has seen heavy use since opening, with the large assembly room being booked for every Saturday since opening.

The city reported receiving $141,717 in revenue to date from the center, which is a far cry more than the $69,753 projected.

Expenditures have also been less than projected, about $185,639 to date as compared to an anticipated $226,224.

Still the center is showing a $43,922 shortfall so far this year.

"I can tell you that the expenses have not been higher than we thought they would be and we are renting at a much faster rate than we expected it," said City Manager Brad Kilger.

The general fund is not funding the gap between receipts and costs of running the center. Before the center opened on June 16, 2009, the city purchased the historic Daniel Whitmore Home and "sold" it to the Ceres Redevelopment so the city could free up $374,000 in redevelopment funds to help the city cover the debt at which the new Community Center will be operating for five years or more.

City officials originally predicted that the center would lose money at a rate of $128,261 the first year, and $110,516 the second year and an estimated $100,000 the third year.

According to Cambria Pollinger, the city's recreation coordinator who is helping to run it, the center has proven to be a popular place for public and private functions. The city estimates that 20,517 people have used the center since its opening. The large assembly room at the center is booked for every Saturday of the 2010 calendar year. The center has seen 28 wedding receptions attended by 5,355 guests and five quincenearas with 800 guests. A total of 175 board meetings have been held at the center by various companies, including Save Mart, Food Maxx and Sutter Gould as well as the city.

Pollinger said there's been times when both the large and small assembly rooms have been rented simultaneously.

"The noise has not been a factor because they are sound proof and a merging of the parties has not been an issue," said Pollinger.

Save Mart/Food Max stopped meeting at the Modesto Centre Plaza for the Ceres Community Center "because of how accommodating we are," said Pollinger.

She added that the center has drawn many to downtown and will hopefully serve as a catalyst for private investment and creation of new businesses.

"We are the starting point to kick off downtown," said Pollinger.