Last updated: July 03. 2014 2:49PM - 900 Views
By - cberendt@civitasmedia.com



Chris Berendt/Sampson IndependentClinton Recreation director Jonathan Allen presents the final draft of a naming rights policy to City Council that would allow sponsors names to be attached to recreation facilities and the city to garner revenue to upgrade them.
Chris Berendt/Sampson IndependentClinton Recreation director Jonathan Allen presents the final draft of a naming rights policy to City Council that would allow sponsors names to be attached to recreation facilities and the city to garner revenue to upgrade them.
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A naming rights policy for the City of Clinton’s recreation facilities has now been adopted, officially laying the groundwork for sponsors to put their name up in lights and the city to net needed revenue to pay for those upgraded amenities.


In recent meetings, the Council requested modified wording in the draft policy and volleyed around alternate proposals for sponsor costs and the length of the naming rights until ultimately approving a final draft of the policy at its Tuesday meeting.


Backed by the recommendation of the Recreation Advisory Board and city manager Shawn Purvis, recreation director Jonathan Allen first presented the naming rights proposal to Council at a May 1 budget workshop. The matter was brought back during several subsequent meetings over the past two months, with some concerns raised and tweaks made, before finally being adopted at the Council’s meeting earlier this week.


The policy formalizes the process, and monetary amounts associated with the naming of recreational facilities such as fields, playgrounds, courts and smaller amenities such as picnic shelters and even benches. Those naming rights would potentially provide revenue to fund renovations and additions to city parks and amenities, Purvis said.


According to the policy approved Tuesday, the cost of naming rights is to be paid over a period of eight years and, as long as those requirements are met, the rights will be owned for the lifetime of the facility.


The cost of naming rights, all to be paid over a period of eight years, include: $80,000 for each baseball or soccer field; $95,000 for the main (stadium) baseball field; $100,000 for the main soccer field; $250,000 for the baseball complex; $200,000 for the soccer complex; $160,000 for the gymnasium; $30,000 for each leg of the walking trail; $25,000 for each playground; $20,000 for each set of two regulation tennis courts; $16,000 for each picnic shelter; and $15,000 for each set of four U8 tennis courts to be constructed.


Throughout the discussion process, Council members said they were pleased with the prospect of offering naming rights but wanted to ensure the policy was fleshed out, looking out for the interests of the city and potential sponsors.


That sponsor revenue will be a boost toward paying recreation expenses on the horizon.


Clinton is in a good position to receive a $864,000 Parks & Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) grant, which would provide half the entire funding and leave the city with a $432,000 tab to be paid off over three years. Purvis said paid sponsorships in return for naming rights would be a huge benefit for collecting the local dollars needed to pay for renovations.


During the discussion process, Allen looked numerous municipalities and what they charge for naming rights, as well as what some local entities did regarding naming rights.


“After the last meeting, I did contact Clinton City Schools and the community college just to follow up on their naming rights,” Allen said this week. “Theirs is lifetime, as far as naming rights for the facility, as long as (sponsors) pay that fee. It would stay there whether that person unfortunately passes away or that company goes out of business. The proposal I put forward reflects that.”


Additionally, there will be a 10 percent discount on the fee if the sum is paid is made in full up front.


“If there is a present name on the facility, like the Bellamy Center, it would not take the place of that name,” Allen clarified.


The vote was unanimously made in favor of the naming rights policy, 3-0. Council members Neal Strickland and Maxine Harris were not in attendance.


“Very good work on this,” Mayor Lew Starling said. “Thank you very much. This is a big step.”


Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121. Follow us on twitter @SampsonInd.

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