WHAT IT IS: The city of Newton's 2013 budget for the Meridian Center. The budget is up from the 2012 adopted budget of $508,231 and the 2011 budget of $344,387.

DEPARTMENT STATS: The Meridian Center is a 15,000 square foot facility available to rent for weddings, conferences, meetings and other events. The Meridian Center had its first full year of operation in 2012. The building has 8,000 square feet of meeting space that can accommodate up to 450 people. The facility can be divided into a variety of sizes to meet specific group needs. The center will host an estimated 202 events in 2013, and will bring in about $80,000 in room rental revenue and $180,000 in food and beverage revenue.

HISTORY: In the early 1900s, Newton resident John C. Nicholson's vision led to the Meridian Highway, which ran along the Sixth Principal Meridian and connected Canada to Mexico. It eventually became U.S. 81 and the precursor to Interstate 135, where the Meridian Center is now located. Nicholson also created a plan for U.S. Highway 50, which connected the East and West Coasts and intersected with the Meridian Highway through Newton. The Meridian Center was named in honor of Meridian Highway and Nicholson's legacy.

REVENUES: Estimated total revenue for 2013 is $285,699. City staff have reported convention centers typically donít make an operational profit, though they said the center has performed even better than they expected. They said having the conference center brings events to Newton, and people who attend those events may also spend money at local restaurants and shops.

Have a question about a local government budget? Contact us via email at news@thekansan.com, Attn: Budget breakdown, or call us at 283-1500.