Council approves naming ordinance

July 8, 2009

The rights to name pieces of city property can now be purchased under a resolution approved Tuesday night by the Common Council.

After months of debate, aldermen agreed they should have oversight only when naming rights sales are valued at greater than $10,000.

The ordinance states that "any building, facility, grounds, field, park, stadium, court" can be named. Improvements to city property and city programs can also be named. Streets cannot be named.

Under the ordinance, city staff members would conduct market research to determine appropriate pricing after an offer is made to name a piece of city property. The Public Works Department would handle any sales with a value less than $10,000, whereas approvals for naming rights with a value of $10,000 and more would require a majority vote of the council.

Though a $5,000 limit was passed by committee, Alderman Thomas Herzog proposed an ordinance with a $10,000 limit. Herzog said the higher threshold will keep the council from getting bogged down with naming requests.

Aldermen James Krol, Eric Meaux and Michael Walsh opposed the ordinance, arguing that the $5,000 limit was more appropriate.

The naming rights issue has been on the table for much of this year, after Mayor Jill Didier floated the idea in the hopes of selling bleacher seats at the Hart Park stadium to help pay for renovations. The ordinance was penned by Alderman Dennis McBride.

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