According to this SunThisweek article, the Apple Valley City Council reversed a poor decision made 3.5 years ago to name the new Apple Valley Senior Center, the “Hayes Community and Senior Center”. The reason for this name was because some of the councilmembers believed it would enable better use of the facility for event rentals and by having it called only a senior center, these would be far more limited than adding in “Hayes Community” first.
Back in 2010, Lazy Lightning researched the usage rate of the new Hayes Community and Senior Center and found it to be more or less nonexistent:
Once the facility reopened to the public in June of 2009 the price went up from free to $20/hr, even for non-profits. While there have been plenty of events for seniors taking place at the facility (I didn’t count them, see “Methodology” above), the Hayes Community and Senior Center has been basically vacant otherwise. Between July of 2009 (the first full month of event registrations provided) and February 2010 there were a total of 22 events hosted. Not per month, total. You know, in 8 months.
While the SunThisweek article doesn’t quote any numbers, Councilmember Ruth Grendahl is quoted as saying, “I thought financially we were going to be able to generate revenues. It was a fiduciary thing,” which makes it fairly clear the City Staff and Council finally gave into the fact that the center just wasn’t fit for event revenue generation.
But the real question is why some members of the City Council were determined to believe this would make money while others were not? Apple Valley’s shady mayor Mary Hamman-Roland said the city has to come up with revenue sources that will be less burdensome on the taxpayers back in 2009. She was right. Unfortunately what she ignored was City staff members are apparently not well equipped to operate a revenue generating facility out of a building that’s meant to be a community center.
The City is banking on the fact that the new multi-million dollar golf clubhouse will become a better venue for these revenue generating events and hopes to put their poor decision on the Senior Center behind them. However, history is likely to repeat itself as the golf clubhouse may be in the same boat as the Community Center was: there is just a lack of knowledge and capability on the side of the City staff to operate a business of this type which is in steep competition with other local facilities which have been doing it longer and arguably better. Until the City makes a much larger effort than simply changing names or throwing millions of dollars at the physical structure, the City of Apple Valley is likely to remain in the same boat as it is today.
What do you think about this one? Does the City Council owe its seniors a greatly apology for what they did to them 3+ years ago? Will they be anymore successful at the golf course knowing their track record with other city-owned facilities? Whatever you have to say about this one, go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.