Centerville reveals more on Benham’s Grove event center ahead of 2025 debut

Centerville is on track to start construction of a 200-capacity event center in April.

The 6,000-square-foot center at Benham’s Grove, 166 N. Main St. will include main event space, outdoor terrace space, a bridal wing, a groom’s area and a warming kitchen, officials said Thursday.

Contractors anticipate finishing construction prior to July 2025.

Total cost of the Benham’s Grove project is $7.4 million, with $650,000 of that going toward design, $4.25 million to new construction and $2.5 million toward renovation of Gerber House, the cottage, barn, gazebo, grounds and walkways, parking and storage/service building, a city spokesperson said.

Benham’s Grove is an event center complex and community gathering space that includes a park and a Victorian homestead able to host a range of functions from small meetings to large, formal gatherings.

Centerville voted this week to set rental rates for the new event center and the city plans to stay flexible with them to adjust for changes.

The event center will be able to be rented for 12 hours at a time on the weekend with a separate rate for Saturday, according to Benham’s Grove administrator Randy Bishop.

“Saturday is the most requested day and most facilities are charging a higher rate on a Saturday … as opposed to a Friday or a Sunday,” Bishop said. “So we are looking at the 12-hour rate during (May-to-October) peak season of $7,000, and then Fridays and Sundays we will offer the facility for $6,000. That is during peak season.”

During off-peak season, which is November through May, it will cost $6,000 to rent the facility on Saturdays and $5,000 for Fridays and Sundays.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

A 6-hour rate also will be offered for those who are not having a wedding and don’t need the facility for 12 hours, Bishop said. It will be offered on all days other than Saturday, he said.

During the season, that rate will be $3,500 during on-season and $3,000 during the off-season. The weekday rate will be $3,000 for on-season and $2,000 during off-season.

Bishop said those rates are derived from comparisons done with other facilities around town that have “similar size and amenities.”

“We will be offering the Centerville discount on this pricing also in addition to the historic campus, (which) gives the 20% discount to citizens, veterans and employees,” Bishop said. “We will be revisiting these numbers, probably in 2026, to see how the numbers are stacking up in comparison to our competitors and make any adjustments that we need to make to it.”

Having the event center will double Benham’s Grove’s season from six months to a year, “so we should be able to increase our revenue tremendously,” he said.

Rental prices “will fall more in the middle” of other such facilities in the area, Bishop said.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

“Some of the facilities are running $8,000 to $10,000,” he told Centerville City Council Tuesday evening. “There are a couple that are a little under $6,000, but they don’t have the same amenities or the size of the facility that we offer.”

Bishop said he’s already received multiple bookings and “lots and lots of phone calls.” “People are very interested,” he said. “The anticipation is there and we’re looking forward to it. We’re excited.”

Rates will be reviewed and adjusted as needed after the first six months of operation, Bishop said in a Feb. 5 interoffice memorandum to City Manager Wayne Davis and Assistant City Manager Mariah Vogelgesang.

Gerber House’s capacity is 120 in peak months and 70 during off-peak months. A barn on the site has a capacity of 80.

The event center project was conceived in anticipation of being able to host events year-round and hosting events concurrently, Bishop said in the memo.

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