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How's new Carrollwood Cultural Center doing?

CARROLLWOOD — In the first half of 2008, the Carrollwood Cultural Center raised more than $80,000 from class fees, room rentals, naming rights and other sources.

But its greatest source of income was a $285,000 subsidy from Hillsborough County taxpayers.

These figures, which were not immediately available when the center board met Tuesday morning, illustrate the center's continued dependence on the county.

The center, which cost the county $8-million in construction alone, is governed by a quasi­public board that wants to offer high-end programming with support from the community. That arrangement came about when county officials realized they could not afford to staff the center.

Board member John Miley was concerned Tuesday that board members had not been provided with financial statements for June or July, due to the sudden resignation of one of its members.

"I need to be educated on what we're doing," said Miley, who has been involved with the center for 10 years.

The board president, Tom Jones, vowed to get every member the numbers Tuesday but assured them the center was in good shape financially.

Class offerings, which include everything from ballet to Italian language, have tripled since the center's March opening, said executive director Paul Berg. Attendance has increased by 70 percent, he said.

The most popular classes are children's and adults' pottery, which has more than 30 students.

"I teach 10 classes and we have room for more students," said instructor Gilda Butler. "But we'll be filled to capacity soon enough."

Berg said the center has 163 students enrolled for its more than 40 classes offered in the third six-week session that began July 7.

"Obviously for just opening four months ago, we're doing very well," Jones said. "But ... this place has a lot of potential."

Robbyn Mitchell can be reached at (813) 269-5313 or rmitchell@sptimes.com.

>>fast facts

If you want to join

The Carrollwood Cultural Center is at 4537 Lowell Road in Carrollwood. On the Web: carrollwoodcenter.org. Memberships cost $50 for singles and $95 for families.

How's new Carrollwood Cultural Center doing? 07/24/08 [Last modified: Thursday, July 24, 2008 4:30am]
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