CERES -- This city's long-awaited community center seems to have something for everyone, including young people wishing to hone their computer skills, adults interested in tai chi or seniors wanting a cardio workout.
Hundreds of people attended Tuesday's opening of the $6.8 million center on Fourth Street downtown. The two-story, 25,600- square-foot center has room for almost 1,500 people to engage in activities in assembly areas, conference rooms and activity rooms.
"It's beautiful," said Mildred Krause of Ceres. "It was worth waiting for."
Krause's family bought a brick as part of a fund-raiser for the center to honor her and her husband's 60th wedding anniversary. The Krauses hope to mark their 65th anniversary at the center, she said.
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Ceres has gone without a community center since the one on Third Street was demolished in the 1980s to make room for the police station. Planning for a new center began in 2001. The city bought Ceres Christian Church with plans to remodel it, but renovation costs convinced officials to demolish the church and put up a new building.
Mayor Anthony Cannella said the center represents the city's commitment to revitalize downtown. "It also means our community groups, sen-iors and youth commission have a place to meet," he said. "Before this was completed, they were scattered all over town."
The center has a large assembly area for banquets, wedding receptions or performances and a smaller assembly room for City Council meetings and other activities. The center includes a 12-station computer lab, fitness room, senior room, aerobics and dance studio, arts and crafts room, and teen room.
The project's cost, including the land and furnishings, was upward of $9.5 million. The city funded the project through a redevelopment bond and fees on new development. To raise money for improvements, the city sold commemorative bricks in addition to offering room- naming rights to businesses and service clubs.
Groups can rent the facilities for weddings or parties.
During Tuesday's opening, demonstrations were held to show the recreation programs offered through the city.
Ceres resident Mike Zizzo watched his 9-year-old daughter perform with a group in the dance studio. He said facilities such as the community center help make Ceres a self-contained city.
"My kids dance in Ceres," he said. "They swim in Ceres. This is five minutes from my home."
For information about recreation programs or reserving community center facilities, call the Ceres Recreation Department at 538-5628 or go to www.ci.ceres.ca.us and click on "recreation."
Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2321.