November 14, 2007 in City

Park name can be yours for right price

By The Spokesman-Review

The Northside Family Aquatics Facility, closed for the season, is framed in the posts of a locked gate Tuesday.
(Full-size photo)

Other action

Also Tuesday, county commissioners approved higher animal-control fees and, as required by state law, a set of standards for the county public defender’s office. In areas served by the county animal control program, licenses will go from $13 to $20 for neutered dogs; from $28 to $40 for unneutered dogs; from $8 to $15 for neutered cats; and from $18 to $25 for unneutered cats.

Ever wonder why Spokane County’s splashy, state-of-the-art water park has a ho-hum name like North Side Aquatics Facility?

It turns out the mushy mouthful was a deliberate attempt to make other names sound good under a money-raising sponsorship program.

“We’ve been very careful to have very nondescript, unexciting names – like North Side Aquatics Facility – until we could get this going,” Parks Director Doug Chase told county commissioners Tuesday.

Soon businesses with $130,800 to spend over five years may relieve the water park of its dreary moniker. Those with less money may name a softball field or a picnic shelter.

Chase proposes package deals in which a business could put its name on a water park building, on staff uniforms and visors, and on receipts, brochures or paperwork of any kind. The sponsor also would get 500 water park tickets a year – a $2,500 value – for promotional use or distribution to employees.

The North Side Aquatics Facility could become the (Company Name) Family Aquatic Center. But not if the company name is Budweiser, Marlboro or anything of the sort. X- and R-rated businesses also need not apply.

Nor should religious or political organizations.

Commissioners praised the plan but postponed action for at least two weeks. They asked Chase to develop a more formal method of screening applicants.

For better value, “family friendly” businesses may wish to sponsor both the North Side Aquatics Facility, at 18120 N. Hatch Road, and the South Side Aquatics Facility under construction at 3724 E. 61st Ave. The proposed price, $260,000 over five years, reflects a discount.

Separately, the South Side water park naming rights would cost $194,000 under a price schedule recommended by Genesis Marketing, which has advised the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center.

Chase said the South Side “facility” is expected to have greater advertising value because more people live nearby.

Businesses with smaller advertising budgets may want to consider the Liberty Lake Regional Park picnic shelter and campground at $22,500. Or there are softball fields at Plantes Ferry Park ($17,500 for one; $60,000 for all five), or at Linwood and Orchard Avenue parks ($12,500 apiece).

The proposed sponsorship fees would “go a tremendous long way” toward maintaining quality and keeping county park operations as nearly self-sufficient as possible, Chase said.

The North Side water park’s operating budget this year was about $120,000, of which 89 percent was recovered in admission fees and concession profits. However, Chase told commissioners he needs to hire a new “aquatics recreation coordinator” to oversee the county’s pools and water parks.

Wages and benefits for the new position could range from $64,000 to $79,000, Chase said.

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