WATSONVILLE -- Watsonville went back to work Monday, and the downtown appeared to be coming back to life.
For the past two weeks, city offices were closed due to the holidays and budgetary cutbacks. Some businesses shut their doors as well.
Nowhere was the pent-up demand more obvious than at the public library on Main Street. People clicked away at every computer station, chairs and desks were filled with young and old browsing books and newspapers, and a long line of patrons waited to check out.
"I was excited. I couldn't wait for today, Jan. 7," said Tomas Campos, a Spanish literature fan standing last in the queue about 2 p.m. "I didn't get to go out of town so I wanted to come to the library."
Upstairs, computer assistant Sophia Parra presided over a full lab. It had been busy all day long, she said.
"They missed us," Parra said.
Library director Carol Heitzig said it was good to be back, and she hopes the city won't have to shutdown at the holidays for a fifth year in 2013.
"We really hate to close," she said. "We understand how difficult it is for the community. We'd love to be open."
But it's unclear whether the tight finances that caused the city to negotiate a 10 percent pay cut with employees in exchange for a shorter work week and extra time off during the holidays have improved enough to make a change.
"We're trying to figure out our next move with finances," said Mayor Lowell Hurst, adding it's hard for everyone to come back after a break.
"A lot transpires in the meantime," he said. "Work doesn't really stop."
Across the street from the Civic Plaza, which houses city offices, the library and courts, owner Mackenzie Fullmer shut down the Second Street Café for two weeks -- the longest time the coffee shop has been closed since it opened in 2008 -- and used the time to work on her specialty cake business.
With city staff gone, Cabrillo College and Pajaro Valley schools on break, and some businesses on hiatus, there were too few customers to serve, she said, adding, "we needed a break."
Fullmer said business was a little slow Monday, especially around breakfast, a situation she attributed to the fact that schools remain closed and to newly made New Year's resolutions.
"It's natural," she said. "It's restarting everybody's habits."
Pajaro Valley students return to classrooms on Monday. Cabrillo College is open for a brief and limited winter session. The spring semester will start Feb. 11.
Follow Sentinel reporter Donna Jones on Twitter at Twitter.com/DonnaJonesSCS