City considers changes to facility fee structure

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City officials haven't settled on a solution for "ongoing problems" at The Center of Craig, but whatever they decide, it will likely cost users both time and money.

The Center of Craig is a popular place for parties, dances, weddings and meetings since remodeling was completed two years ago on the historic building.

The problems is that it may be more of a problem than it's worth -- at least with the fee structure as it is now.

"The Center of Craig is a nightmare," Administrative Assistant Terri Looper said. Looper schedules use of the building. She suggests the city limit events at the Center to one a weekend, making it easier to track damage and costing less in overtime to clean the building between uses.

"It has been a big problem for staff to even make it presentable," Looper said.

A portion of the building is carpeted, which isn't holding up well to wear and tear and stains. Despite the fact that smoking is not allowed in the building, there are several cigarette burns in the carpet.

The solution, replacing the carpet with linoleum, isn't something city officials want to consider because it would worsen the building's already poor acoustics.

Looper suggested increasing the rates for using the building in the hope that move would increase respect for its value and eliminate use by "troublemakers."

Police Chief Walt Vanatta suggested one better. He suggested the city eliminate all events where alcohol is served.

Several groups using the building, particularly the ones serving alcohol, are required to provide security during the event -- usually off-duty police officers -- but that doesn't mean the police department doesn't have its hands full during some events responding to fights or noise complaints.

Craig Parks and Recreation Department Director Dave Pike discourages implementing a no-alcohol rule.

"That eliminates 50 percent of your use and revenue," Pike said. "Do we want (the Center) to be a community building or a museum?"

The Center of Craig generates $3,000 a year in revenue from fees. That, combined with the $8,500 Colorado Northwestern Community College-Craig pays to rent classroom space, barely covers the $11,000 a year in expenses.

A $500 deposit is needed to rent the facility and Looper believes increasing that would decrease the building's use. She has had occasion to dock renters a portion of their deposit or charge them a $35 an hour fee for excessive janitorial work.

City officials will look at the rate structure for renting The Center of Craig and also itemize the time spent in maintenance and clean up and then make a proposal to the Craig City Council amending the fees.

City officials are also considering hiring an architect to propose a solution to the building's poor acoustics.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, Ext. 210 or by e-mail at ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.

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