MODESTO — City officials were excited in May when they talked about their new manager for the downtown convention center, which in recent years has required hefty subsidies from the city’s general fund as booking revenues have fallen.
Officials expected Geoff Hinds, 33, the former chief executive officer of the Tulare County Fair as well as the fair and festivals manager at the San Mateo County Fair, to reverse the fortunes of the Modesto Centre Plaza.
That’s not going to happen.
City officials say Hinds recently quit and has taken another job elsewhere. City officials did not have more details, and Hinds could not be reached for comment.
Modesto has brought in Bob Quintella, a retired deputy director of the city’s parks, recreation and neighborhoods department, to run the center on an interim basis as city officials regroup.
Modesto was going to pay Hinds $83,054 annually and were counting on him to promote and market the Centre Plaza.
Centre Plaza was the centerpiece of Modesto’s downtown revitalization when it was built in the late 1980s. Last year, it held 295 events, such as trade shows, business meetings, concerts and weddings.
But in the past six years, the city’s general fund has provided a nearly $3 million subsidy to the convention center as its booking revenues have fallen, according to records provided by the city’s finance department.
The general fund has about $105 million in revenues and primarily pays for police and fire. It’s also under stress because revenue growth not keeping pace with costs.