South Bay Community Center, Refurbished and Ready

Written by Theresa-Marie Wilson

Theresa-Maria Wilson has been a journalist covering the North Coast and South County area for over 20 years. She is also the founder of Cat Noir CC and is currently working on a novel.

June 6, 2024

Sharing an address with a county-run park across the street from a county-run library might seem like an enviable space for a business to operate, but it does create an image problem, of sorts.

South Bay Community Center, located at 2180 Palisades Ave., shares space with the Los Oso Community Park that also includes tennis courts, the Red Barn, a skate park, and a historic schoolhouse. What some people don’t realize is that the Community Center is not financially supported by the County or any other government agency. 

South Bay Community Center Board Members Pamela Hostetter, V.P., and Cherrie Katayama, president, welcome visitors to the newly refurbished facility. Photo by Theresa-Marie Wilson

“In fact, we have to pay them,” said board president Cherrie Katayama referring to the County

The event-ready facility is a non-profit relying on donations, volunteers and bookings to continue operations.

“We tend to cover regular expenses like electricity and gas with our rentals,” said Pamela Hostetter, vice president of the Community Center board. “However, we have a hard time paying for anything beyond the basics, so we’re feeling the pinch given all the repairs and needed maintenance that we needed this year.”

The list of repairs and maintenance have added up over the last year or so including major repairs to the drainage and plumbing in the kitchen, roof and window leaks, bifold doors and a wheelchair lift as well as heating system upgrades, a building deep clean, and total exterior repainting.

The stage area at the South Bay Community Center with lighting, a projector and speakers. Photo by Theresa-Marie Wilson

“There were some major and quite frankly, very expensive fixes that had to be done,” Hostetter said.

Additionally last September, the exterior of the building was tagged along with garbage bins and a utility box. Community volunteers jumped in to help with painting, supplies and general good will. 

Although general maintenance is often completed by volunteers, the recent improvements were done with deep discounts by Paul’s Precision Painting and Bob Crizer Construction.

“Bob and Paul gave us huge discounts on their work,” Hostetter said. “Their generosity made it possible to get our community center looking great.”

The kitchen inside the South Bay Community Center is utlilized by the Meals that Connect to distribute meals to the xxxx and infirm. Photo by Theresa-Marie Wilson

The facility is run by a volunteer board and a paid part-time office manager who works a few hours three days a week. It offers a 3300 square foot assembly are, a which can be divided in two sections by a movable divider wall, a 900 square foot stage with a projector and professional lighting system, a large commercial kitchen, an outdoor barbecue pit and large patio, interior bathrooms, and a conference room for up to 25 people.

Folks can rent different areas of the building for wedding receptions, memorial services, birthday parties, civic events, retirement parties, and small festivals. It is also home to the annual Needs and Wishes Holiday Fundraiser sponsored by South Bay Seniors People Helping People. 

Several programs that benefit the community regularly use the building to provide services ranging from necessity to entertainment including People Helping People Food Bank distribution, the Los Osos Rotary Family Fun Day, the Kiwanis Easter Egg Hunt, the Senior Nutrition Program, folk dancing, weekly Community Dinners hosted by Los Osos Cares, and exercise classes among others. 

Meals that Connect, which feeds senior citizens and folks who are infirm, regularity utilizes the kitchen in the community center to prepare and deliver meals for about 50 to 60 locals. 

“The facility is amazing,” said Kelly Hall with Meals that Connect. “I worked at a facility in San Luis Obispo for about a month, which is out of a church, but this is a lot more spacious. There’s a lot more room to work. 

“It [the Community Center] is absolutely important. We have people who are infirmed, and we have seniors that can’t get out to grocery shop. They were trapped.”

Both Hostetter and Katayama became volunteers after seeing the center looking worse for wear a few years ago.

“I think COVID really decimated the place because no one could rent, nobody could come in or anything,” Katayama said. “After COVID, I just felt that it’s a community center, we really needed to get involved. My husband and I both felt that. We wanted to get it back to where it was.”

Hostetter, a regular tennis player, noticed the building declining while she used the park’s tennis courts, also during COVID. 

“I just saw a general degradation to our little community center,” she said. “I saw it happening because I was playing tennis through the whole thing [COVID]. I just felt like I needed to be a solution rather than just a complainer. I felt I could help bring it back to where our little park, our little community, has resources that can be used. This facility is such an amazing part of our community and we’re dedicated to keeping it beautiful and busy for many years to come”

The Community Center project, built in 1986, was originally conceived of by a group of senior citizens, who saw the growing need for a senior center, their website states. 

“However, during their initial groundwork it became apparent that the need was not only for a senior center but a community center as well. Thus, the SBCC was born. Built by the citizens of Los Osos.”

For readers interested in joining the board, they meet the third Monday of every month from 6 p.m. to about 7:30 p.m. The next meeting takes place June 17. To rent the facility, make a donation or reach out to become a volunteer, call 805.528.4169 or go to

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