Two Riverbank service organizations were the beneficiaries of the first weekend of the newly improved Community Center, each with its own fundraising event hosted at the facility.
Both the Royal Neighbors group and the Riverbank Historical Society were the ‘opening acts’, so to speak, as they were first to use the facility after its months-long renovation. Those who attended these events noticed many upgrades in the decor and the resulting ambiance.
Gone are the cracked and disintegrating tile floors, the dark wood paneling, the rain-stained ceiling panels and the yellow fluorescent lights.
The resultant grey walls with darker grey trim seem almost the opposite of the darkness of the former version. And the many, bright ceiling fixtures illuminate well.
The floor has been stripped down to the bare concrete, with a new clear surface added.
Although a bit of work remains to be done in the kitchen, the center seems to have benefited well from the money, and effort, spent to bring about the change.
The city first went out to bid on the designs for the Community Center back in December 1966, and it was dedicated in 1968. It originally featured so-called accordion walls that could divide the space up into three separate rooms and each had its own set of doors, so one group wouldn’t interfere with another.
Those walls were abandoned and removed long ago, so it was used most often as a large single room.
Over time, equipment in the kitchen has been upgraded and a new sound system was installed, with speakers in the ceiling. With the new, bright lighting and walls, it’s hard to notice the speakers in the new ceiling.
During the past few months, other local groups have had to postpone the events they would otherwise have put on in the center, partly because the city had difficulty in getting the bid process going when it originally wanted to start work on the renovation project. But also, because there are only a few other venues in town that can host the kinds of events put on at the Community Center.
Presumably, now with the upgrades, there will be yet another 50 years of life left in the facility for service to the Riverbank community.