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Convention center ‘myths and mysteries’ debunked

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Kenny Valenzuela, general manager of the Roswell Convention & Civic Center, addresses misconceptions about the facility during the full City Council meeting on Thursday night. (Alison Penn Photo)

Councilors ask about pending city liquor license, outside catering

A recent presentation at a City Council meeting focused on common questions and comments about the newly opened Roswell Convention & Civic Center (RCCC).

All 10 Roswell city councilors were present at Thursday night’s nearly three-hour meeting at 912 N. Main St.

Juanita Jennings, public affairs director, said Kenny Valenzuela, general manager at RCCC, would be addressing “mysteries and myths” about booking policies, outside catering and other questions.

Valenzuela addressed large-scale events, catering and also alcohol sales at Thursday night’s meeting. He showed a list of the targets for annual conventions that would bring in revenue and economic impact for the facility and the city.

Councilor Caleb Grant asked about the city’s governmental alcohol license and Valenzuela said the city expects to hear back any day now.

In terms of myths, Valenzuela said some large-scale events hosted by Spectra — the convention center’s management company — or PAW Patrol, or involving monster trucks, are “unrealistic” for the city’s venue. He said the large exhibit hall has the capacity to hold about 1,500 people and they are talking with promoters to bring in concerts and shows.

A rumor suggesting “no outside catering” is false, Valenzuela said. He explained outside caterers can participate in an application process that includes providing copies of business licenses, food permits, insurance policies and proof of equipment.

In the past, he said organizers had kitchen usage, but the new policy requires outside caterers to be self-sufficient in case of simultaneous events.

At this time, no applications from interested outside caterers have been received, but Valenzuela said the opportunity to apply will be opened up annually for outside catering.

He also said no “home-cooked food” is allowed at the convention center and in other commercial buildings per the New Mexico Environment Department Food Field Guide.

With rental fees, Valenzuela said Spectra looks at the “value” of the event and learns as much information as needed from the client. He listed some of Spectra’s offered services — such as security, food and beverage, insurance, facility rental, equipment and audiovisual needs — that help determine an event’s pricing. Day and time of an event are also important.

Valenzuela said the convention center does not provide bar service, since the city’s liquor license is being processed. The options are a cash bar or a hosted bar. If the city receives a liquor license, he said the estimated prices are as follows: $3 domestic beer, $4 imported beer, $5 house wine/liquor and $7 premium wine/liquor.

Roebuck asked about how payment for outside catering would work. Valenzuela explained Spectra would be involved only with the event for other services and the organizer would pay the caterer.

Councilors Angela Moore and Steve Henderson asked about the frequency of open applications and if they would be listed. Valenzuela said applications would be open for two to three weeks for the year.

For more information, citizens can call Valenzuela at 575-624-6860 or email him at Kenny_Valenzuela@comcastspectacor.com.

City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.