Creston California
History of the C.A.T.C.H. Fund in Creston
by Ann Spencer

         A tradition of doing what needs to be done "by ourselves" came to Creston through our pioneer ancestors. From building a school house in the 1880s, a community swimming pool in the early 1960s, a volunteer fire house in the 1980s, and more recently, the Volunteer Community Demonstration Garden in the early 1990s, Creston residents have demonstrated pride in "getting the job done" in the true tradition of our pioneer founders. Creston was founded in 1884. (See: the brief history of Creston is elsewhere on this web site.)
        During the 1970s and 1980s, many avenues were explored, looking for a way to provide a real community building and a recreational area in Creston. Creston has been growing, so we need one that is large enough for full use.
       In 1993, all of the active community organizations in Creston joined together in this common purpose, and established the C.A.T.C.H. Fund dedicated to this community center. C.A.T.C.H. stands for Creston Activities Town Center Helping-hands. Shortly thereafter, Creston "took the bull by the horns" and created an annual fund raiser: The Creston Classic Rodeo.
      In 1995, the "CCR" became a reality, as well as the major source of income for the C.A.T.C.H. Fund, which holds all the money "in trust" toward our community goal. The following service organizations support CATCH: The CCR, the Creston Garden Club, The Creston Women's Club, Volunteer Fire Department, and The Men's Club. In February of 2006,  San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Jim Patterson announced that an agreement between SLO County and the Algee Family Trust has secured a small parcel of land for the goal of a community center. Creston can now, finally, see the light at the end of the tunnel!
     A community Swap Meet/Flea Market was held in October of 2005 to benefit C.A.T.C.H., with nearly $1,000 being raised. Other fund raisers are being planned. The Creston Classic Rodeo is held in the middle of September at the rodeo grounds on the corner of Highway 229 (also known as Webster Road) and Swayze Road on the edge of town. The rodeo has grown so much over the years, thanks to our loyal sponsors and community volunteers.
      As  of the end of October 2007, this fund has grown to about $90,000. Our County Supervisor, Jim Patterson, is hard at work trying to locate a suitable site for the new CAL-FIRE station. The process ran into some unexpected setbacks this past September. There is still the remote chance that the existing volunteer fire station will someday be converted into the Creston Community Center. I would hope that more residents will get involved in the fundraising efforts as we get closer to CATCHING  THE  DREAM of our Center.
      In October 2008, the Rodeo Board donated $7,500, Rodeo Queen Brittany Voss $500, and the Creston 4H $350, to bring the new balance in the C.A.T.C.H. Fund to just over $100,000. Hopefully, someone will update the huge wooden thermometer billboard on the edge of town. The SLO County Board of Supervisors approved the location of the new CAL FIRE station along Hwy 229 at its Oct 7th meeting. Jim Patterson supports the idea of creating a community center where the current volunteer fire station sits.
    In October 2009, the Rodeo Board hosted a wonderful "Wrap-Up" party in the VIP Corral. A fabulous plaque was presented to George Hearst for his generous donation of new, code-compliant steel bleachers in the grandstands of the rodeo grounds. Linda Rohrer and Tom Hansen presented Rosie Hebron with a donation check of $5,000 for the C.A.T.C.H. Fund. The little girls and boys of the Creston 4H club donated $300 to the fund. At least six new "cattle brands" were burned into the wall behind the wood bar. Great food, lots of wine, and just another great party for all of the hard-working volunteers. The Ryan family was the Grand Marshall family this year, which was wonderful. As you remember, the rodeo as a fund raiser for C.A.T.C.H. was Nancy's idea back in 1994/1995. We now have somewhere around $106,000 in the fund as of Nov. 2009.
       The 15th Ever Creston Classic Rodeo was a huge success with many new sponsors donating CASH to help to update the grounds. New footing was installed at the Field Kitchen/ VIP Corral and a donation to the C.A.T.C.H. fund will be announced at the October 28th, 2010, wrap-up party held at that kitchen.
   The donation made by the rodeo for 2010 was a wonderful $10,000. On December 19, 2010, Eagle Castle Winery - along with the volunteer fire department of Creston, hosted a fantastic Cowboy Christmas Dinner Dance, which was sold out with over 200 people, plus a very amazing silent auction of more than 25 valuable items. The desserts were home made by members of Creston Women's Club and Creston Garden Club. It was such a huge success that we hope this will be the first of many more wonderful events to benefit the C.A.T.C.H. Fund.
     The CAL-FIRE  station ground-breaking ceremony took place on April 20th, 2011 at 4 p.m. Light refreshments were served and there were speakers talking about plans for the old volunteer fire station. The construction contract was awarded to local SLO company Rarig Construction, and construction is humming along during May 2011, with the building expected to be available for move-in by the Spring 2012.
     During the spring of 2011, a survey was sent to each group organization that represent the C.A.T.C.H. Board seeking input on designs for the new Community Center. A meeting was held in June 2011 to discuss the results and plan the layout and the amenities of the new building. This is a very exciting time for the C.A.T.C.H. Fund Board. Rosie and her board members have been fund raising since 1992! Many of us have a vision of what this center should look like.
     UPDATE Sept. 8, 2011: A website dedicated to keeping our community informed on what's going on with the development of our soon-to-be-reality Community Center was developed by Mike Barret as a forum for input, comments and ideas. (The site was later closed.)
      UPDATE Nov. 2011: The C.A.T.C.H.  Board will once again be hosting a Christmas Dinner Fund Raiser at Eagle Castle Winery off of Hwy 46 West. Details will be posted on the home page of this site as they become available. The Rodeo Board hosted their annual "Rodeo Wrap-Up" party on Oct. 27th and presented the new queens and a donation to the C.A.T.C.H. Fund. Finally, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
    Architect Nick Gilman, who helped with the original 1984 pole barn, has generously donated his time to create a few  different floor plans for our community to check out. VOTE  your  choice about the  location of the kitchen.  Our community is so blessed to have the tireless support of so many residents, especially Mike Barrett whose new mission in life is to head up the committee that has been researching our sewer, electrical, etc.  options. So many details to decide. If you see Mike, please thank him. Our big fundraiser Dinner Dance will be held on Dec. 11th at Eagle Castle Winery. We will need a  lot more funds to make this center happen, and to build the kitchen, and the bathrooms, etc.
      UPDATE April 6, 2012: The CAL-FIRE station is nearly complete. Local residents helped to plant lots of shrubs and bushes and trees to landscape the newly built station. Thank you to everyone who helped on March 24, 2012. We will soon begin the renovation of the Community Center. Thank you to Bruce Berault for helping to design the commercial kitchen. The drawings/designs are underway by Nick Gilman. You will see lots of activity in the next few months as the wells and water tanks are upgraded.
      UPDATE July 2012: The volunteer fire department #43, Creston,  moves into the brand new CAL-FIRE station located about half way from downtown to Hwy 41. It has very nice landscaping and is a beautiful building.
      UPDATE August  2012: According to C.A.T.C.H. Board President Rosie Hebron,  the lease between the C.A.T.C.H. Fund Board and SLO County has been signed, insurance for the Center is on the way, construction may actually begin shortly, and Creston Women's Club is hoping to hold their October 2012 monthly meeting at the Center. After more than 20 years of non-stop fundraising, Creston Community Center is now becoming a reality. Special thanks to all of the volunteers who had the vision over the past 20 years. Also, special thanks to Mike Barrett, who is overseeing all of the negotiations with various contractors and the architect and the County for the permits, etc. This has been a huge chunk of his personal time and everyone in the community needs to thank him next time you see him.  He is everywhere!
     UPDATE February 2013: The third annual Creston C.A.T.C.H. Fund Christmas Dinner Fundraiser was a huge success. It was held in December 2012 at the spectacular foaling barn of the former thoroughbred stud farm, Windfall Farm, formerly known as Cardiff Stud Farm (in the '80s) and Creston Stud Farm (in the '90s when "Jeopardy" host Alex Trebeck and his partner owned it). The profits are donated to the C.A.T.C.H. Fund, and this year, the profit was $5,100, which is wonderful.  Dozens of locals helped to host this event. There were some very interesting items in the silent auction this year, which brought in more than $2,000 by the looks of the sheets. Also this year, the Creston Classic Rodeo Board donated $5,000 which was generated at the September Rodeo.
      John Katavich is still hard at work revising the original drawings for the Old Firehouse renovation. There has been much progress over the past year. All of us look forward to the beginning of the construction.
      UPDATE February 2013: I attended the C.A.T.C.H. Board meeting on Feb. 25, 2013, and am very happy to report that Creston 4-H has become one of the participating organizations. Last fall, our Creston Friends of the Library became a C.A.T.C.H. Board member organization. Each organization has been asked to host some sort of local fund raiser, with C.A.T.C.H. Fund being the beneficiary.  John Katavich reported that the building plans were resubmitted in December and he is hoping to hear back in the next few weeks. His biggest effort this month is the fire sprinkler  system inside the building. He has also been working on the leach field for the septic tank. Our community is so blessed to have local tradespeople willing to donate major time and energy on this project. The board has voted to progress with the annual C.A.T.C.H. Creston Cowboy Dinner and Silent Auction in December. This has been a huge success. Several board members were able to acquire, for free, some tables, chairs, and office furniture recently from the SLO County Surplus Department. All of the board members are constantly hard at work, in addition to their regular jobs.
      UPDATE February 2014: SLO County finally approved the building permit and plans to renovate the old volunteer fire station on Swayze Road after many many revisions and corrections. The head contractor, John Katavich of Black Mountain Construction, has been hard at work for the past year on plans for the sprinkler system, leach field and septic tank, water storage tank, and lining up helpers and the building inspectors.  On Tuesday, February 25th, the concrete slab behind the station was poured, photos taken of the crew, and general merriment at this first, tangible evidence that, in fact, there will indeed be real improvements to this Center! In fact, the first real event was held in December of 2013 when Creston Garden Club hosted an impressively decorated Christmas Party, attended by more than 50 happy pioneers - the first to celebrate with great food and great adult beverages in the new Center. The C.A.T.C.H. Board met at the beginning of February to discuss important issues, such as office space in the two mobile trailers for the 7 local clubs/organizations that make up the Board. Exciting times for all of us who have helped to fund raise since 1992! The vision is finally becoming a reality. Look for some sort of "Shovel in the Ground" type of event in 2014.
      UPDATE October 2014: The C.A.T.C.H. Fund Board came out with a new fundraising scheme in late August: a metal sculpture of a huge oak tree will be created by metal artist Bruce Hebron. This tree will have, hopefully, hundreds of engraved leaves commemorating names, businesses and in memory of people who supported the project. Each household address in Creston was sent a three-page packet which included a cover letter, a history of the C.A.T.C.H. fund, and a bright yellow donation form. The levels indicated are $100, $500, $1,500, etc, up to $5,000! In the first two weeks, more than $1,500 was donated to the fund. During the summer of 2014, the bathroom addition, which includes a storage room, was completed. In September, the metal siding and roofing was completed.  As of this moment, the fund is awaiting more donations to actually purchase the bathroom fixtures, the toilets, sinks, etc. and to put up the dry wall. A call for volunteer help and for clean fill dirt was sent out. If you would like to donate to the Oak Tree Leaf Scheme, but have lost your donation form, please call Ann at (805) 438-3543, and you will be given a form.  This NEW community Center needs all the help it can get from local residents! Thanks!
    The Rodeo Board also presented a check to the C.A.T.C.H. Fund for $15,000! That is a huge donation and is a direct result of the Board's hard work with the Rodeo this year. We can thank all of the many sponsors and volunteers for this wonderful donation to C.A.T.C.H. Please support all of the sponsors of our beloved rodeo. A list is on the rodeo web site (See: Contacts/Links tab above).
     UPDATE December 22, 2014: Lots of activities the past two months regarding both the C.A.T.C.H. Fund, and the construction progress with the NEW Creston Community Center:
     As far as the Live Oak Tree Fundraising Scheme, the following local clubs have donated a minimum of $5,000:   Creston Garden Club, Creston Women's Club, Creston Rodeo Association, and Creston Volunteer Firefighters Association. There are now four brass "oval" plaques at the base of the beautiful metal sculpture built by Bruce Hebron of the Metal Shed. Bruce is a local artist who has lived in Creston for decades. The sculpture was "unveiled" at the December 13th C.A.T.C.H. a Creston Cowboy Dinner Party, held in the still-under-construction Creston Community Center, located at  5110 Swayze Road next to the Community Volunteer Garden, adjacent to the Rodeo Grounds.  There are many leaves on the new tree commemorating donations from Friends of the Creston Library, plus many residents and businesses. Thank you to everyone who sees the need to support this important community project.
      Regarding a status report on the construction itself,  the electrical contractor spent many weeks this month installing all of the new electrical outlets, the ceiling fans/lighting, and all sorts of other upgrades to the existing pole barn/former fire station (built in 1984 by volunteers). The insulation for the new addition is now inside the new addition, which includes a large storage room, an ADA-approved women's and men's bathroom, plus a nice hallway where we someday hope to have two, six-foot-long coat racks! For the two recent parties held inside the center, one six-foot-long rack was was rented. We are hoping that local volunteers will step up to help install the drywall in the next two months. The next big phase will include the important overhead sprinkler system, which will be one of the most expensive phases of the entire project. If you have any desire to make a cash donation, please make out your check to "The CATCH Fund" and mail it to P.O. Box 14, Creston, CA 93432.  If you would like to volunteer to help out with construction, please call John Katavich at (805) 438-3600. There will be quite a few activities and events at the center in the next year, so please keep an eye of the HOME page of this site for the updates in the Calendar of Events section.
       UPDATE  January 2015: The insulation for the "new addition" is going into the framed walls this month, and, hopefully next month, sheet rock will close in the walls, and the bathrooms will be completed. The C.A.T.C.H. Board has applied for Quimby Funds from the SLO County Parks and Rec Dept. If this happens, the award will take place in March or April and will allow the outside parking lot and safety lighting and the fire suppression system  (interior sprinkler system) to begin construction this summer. The Creston Women's Club hopes to host the Wildflower Bike Ride's "spaghetti feed" at the Center this April! We are hoping that the bathrooms will be completed by the end of March.
     UPDATE  June 2015: The drywall has been installed inside the new center in both the new addition/bathrooms and the comon wall. This is a huge step! Soon we hope to install the fire suppression system. A HUGE THANK YOU to the County Board of Supervisors for approving a Quimby Fund County Grant of $70,000 to the C.A.T.C.H. Fund! Special thanks to Supervisor Debbie Arnold for fast-tracking our fund application, and to Rosie Hebron and Donna Giubbini for completing the lengthy forms to apply for the grant. We need all the help we can get from any and all sources to complete the bathroom flooring, toilets, fixtures, etc.  If you know of anyone who can help as a grant writer, please contact Rosie at (805) 238-1662.
         UPDATE  August 2015: The floors are in. The fire sprinkler system is in. Soon, the bathroom walls will be painted and the fixtures will be installed! Cash donations to continue this work are always appreciated.
         UPDATE October 2015: All the new walls, and some of the old walls, have been painted by a crew of local contractors. The toilets are in and the C.A.T.C.H. Board has announced the date for the annual fundraiser called CATCH a Creston Cowboy Dinner, being held this year on Dec. 19th at the Center. Many of the members of Creston Women's Club are soliciting donations for the silent auction.
     There is still a huge need for more funds to continue the improvements. The most expensive phase of the renovation is now installed: the overhead fire-suppression sprinkler system and pump house construction. The Board is still trying to find a grant writer. C.A.T.C.H. Board President this year is Audrey Beatty. If you can help in any way, please contact her at (805) 237-1800.
    UPDATE  November 2015: The bathrooms are nearly completed!  That is a really good thing, because two huge Christmas parties are happening Dec  17th (Creston Garden Club) and Dec  20th  (CATCH Fund Dinner Party)!!
There are still lots of improvements needed as we move on to "Phase Two", which hopefully will include some heating and air conditioning equipment! If you know of a good grant writer, please let Audrey know!
      UPDATE  January  2016: The pump house and bathrooms are now complete. The two big parties held inside the center during the Christmas holidays were fabulous. The two groups hosting the two parties shared the expense of renting a heater and a coat rack. Wine glasses were rented by one group. The next phase of construction will see the overhead fire-suppression system installed complete with two new water storage tanks. The County has granted Quimby Funds to the C.A.T.C.H. Fund to continue with this installation. The parking lot area will be busy with contractors. Creston Garden Club is always working to upgrade the look of the BBQ and horse shoe pit areas. The fruit trees around the parking lot area are thriving and may produce some fruit in the next few years. The irrigation system for the Volunteer Garden has been upgraded with in-line filters to keep sand and debris out of the drip line system.
     UPDATE December 2016: Several of the newer fruit trees produced fruit this summer! After the April plant sale, Sheila Lyons and Melenie Ristow planted eight new trees along a straight line from the existing fruit tree area towards the Middle Branch Huerhuero Creek. Six are heirloom apple trees and two are plum trees. Sadly, the only well that supplied water to the garden and the center failed and went dry in April, unbeknownst to anyone. Finally, we noticed that the plants were severely stressed during the very warm month of May, and all the leaves on one apple tree dried up and fell off! Several locals took to hand watering, and Noah Small generously donated two large plastic totes with 150 gallons each so watering could take place. Best of all, in late June, early July, Filliponni & Thompson Drilling donated a brand new well, next to the old well, and hooked up to existing plumbing, and Mr. Lyons reconstructed the irrigation system, and by August, all was perfect in our beloved garden. The garden club is getting a jump on potting up plants/seeds/cuttings for the April plant sale during this fall and winter, and Las Pilitas Nursery donated a huge pile of potting soil for us.  THANK  YOU  TO THESE GENEROUS PEOPLE AND BUSINESSES! We couldn't SAVE our Garden without your help.
     UPDATE April  2017: A blue flier was mailed out to everyone with a 93432 ZIP code offering a detailed summary of the work completed in the last five years on our beloved Center. The C.A.T.C.H. Fund has a list in this flier of items needed - donations PLEASE ! - for the following:
                         1.  10 yards of clean fill dirt
                         2. ADA-accessible sidewalks to the rear and west of building
                         3. a utility sink for the store room (plumbing is in)
                         4. painting of the interior and exterior
                         5. sky lights/roof repair
                         6. worktop cabinets and storage cabinets
                         7. storage units for the 17 tables owned by the fire department
If you have any of these,  please email Rosie or call (805) 610-0220.
      Building Code regulations require the overhead fire-suppression sprinkler system for which we are still in need of a metal storage tank and pump. Still needed to complete this aspect is $20,000 for final materials and labor.  If you can help financially by making a CASH donation, please make check payable to CATCH FUND, and mail to CATCH, P.O. Box 14, Creston, 93432.
      For more info on anything related to the Center, call Rosie at (805) 610-0220. She can also provide donors the federal ID number for tax-deductible donations.
      All donations of $100 or more entitles you to a real, metal leaf on their Giving Tree Sculpture located inside the building. There are already 25-30 leaves on this oak tree. Contact me if you need a copy of the Form showing a photo of the Oak Tree Sculpture. I have a leaf on this tree!
     UPDATE January 2018: The C.A.T.C.H. Fund Board wishes to thank the following folks who have so generously assisted the remodeling of the old fire house into Creston Community Center:
  Black Mountain Construction, The Metal Shed sculptor's studio, Ken Bundy Well Service, Sheila and David Lyons, Noah Small, Fillipponi & Thompson Drilling, Creston Garden Club, Rob Reynolds Construction, Greg Wiemann Construction, Jerry Bello, Bruce Hebron, Bob Cazier, Shane Heilmann, Audrey Beatty, and Paula Frojae. As of this month, the permit process is now complete, and the paperwork has been signed off. The fire-suppression sprinkler system has been signed off. The C.A.T.C.H. Fund Dinner fundraiser held in December was a huge success with more than 80 tickets sold. Creston Women's Club President Jennifer Best acquired some sound-absorbing grey panels donated by Santa Margarita artists Peg Grady and Heidi Peterson. Bruce Hebron and Mr. Ristow installed them. The bathrooms are finished. New walkways and handicapped access with blue painted lines have been installed. The outside back area has been leveled with new dirt brought in and the parking area cleaned up. The Garden Club planted a long row of apple and plum trees against the fence that separates the rodeo grounds from the center grounds. The Community Volunteer Garden looks great and has been improved over the years. Congratulations to everyone involved with this enormous project.
   UPDATE June 2018: Check out the new metal artwork attached to the west side of the Community Center -  it is a lovely tree, crafted by local artist, Mr. Twisselman.  The community is so lucky that Creston Women's Club President Jennifer Best applied for a large grant to beautify and upgrade the outside of the center, including a COVERED PATIO! Drive by to see all the new improvements. Furthermore, I am told that the FINAL INSPECTION AND PERMIT APPROVAL  happened this past November, exactly five years from the initial application. The bathrooms are now complete. Lots of new concrete walkways and handicapped parking -  it is extremely impressive what has been accomplished to the dedicated 25 -30 locals who created this important resource for our beloved Creston. Congratulations to the Garden Club leaders who oversaw the placement of fantastic benches and concrete planters facing the garden. Our community is blessed with these forward-thinking residents who know how to achieve our common goals. Some day in the future, we will finally see the Grand Opening Celebration.
    UPDATE late 2018: Huge congratulations to grant writer and Creston Women's Club President Jennifer Best, who won a $13,000 SLO County Beautification Grant to make improvements to our beloved Center! Three cheers!
     UPDATE July 2019: What is new at the Community Center? A 25-foot-by-50-foot, steel patio cover which shades the side of the building closest to the Community Volunteer Garden! Sheila Lyons applied for, and won this year's SLO County Beautification Grant (more than $16,000). Combined with a $5,000 donation from the Creston Classic Rodeo Board, the new dollars funded this amazing addition to our center. This new patio will seat an additional 70-80 folks at our fund raisers, weddings, parties, etc. The Center now is being used by locals and clubs regularly. Check it out!  Amazing opportunities await !
     UPDATE December 2019: The concrete patio has been poured and is curing right this second! If you get a chance anytime - ever - please drive down Swayze Road and see it for yourself!!
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