There’s the — put your name here — Discovery Canyon water park, the yet-untitled City Cultural Services building, and the (still-needs-a-moniker) Northside Community Centre.
Corporations that want naming rights to City of Red Deer facilities still have these three high-profile locations to choose from.
Several other spaces are already tied to title sponsors, including the downtown Servus Arena, the Stetters Place sports pavilion in Great Chief Park and the Motorworks Fields, new sports fields named after Alberta European Motorworks.
In a revenue-generating move, Red Deer city administrators have been encouraged by council to reach out to Red Deer-area corporations that want to give back to the community. By contributing funds for the chance to put their names on a title sign for a facility, businesses can help build community legacies, while raising their own profiles, said Shelley Gagnon, manager of Recreation, Parks and Culture for the City of Red Deer.
The Collicutt Centre recreation facility and the Blue Grass Sod Farm Spray and Play Central Park are early examples of sponsorships that happened before the city had an established criteria for increasing the private funding of public spaces, said Gagnon.
The city now has an official goal of reducing debt and reliance on tax dollars for infrastructure projects by exploring these kinds of sponsorships. It’s an idea also being tapped by the Westerner Exhibition Association and Red Deer College.
If a corporation expresses interest in a title sponsorship, negotiations are undertaken to achieve a deal that’s good for the business and also works for the city, added Gagnon. For instance, Servus Credit Union gave $1 million to have its name on the arena for 15 years. J.T. Setters and Sons Construction paid $250,000 over seven years for naming rights to the sports pavilion in Great Chief Park, and Alberta European Motorworks got the title sponsorship for the new northeast soccer and football fields for $75,000 over 10 years.
Businesses can stipulate certain community benefits. For example, Gagnon said there’s a free monthly public skate at the Servus Arena because the corporation asked for it.
Gagnon believes sponsored projects drew corporate excitement because of their brand-new status, while the still-available spaces, including Cultural Services at the former Central Elementary School, and Discovery Canyon, are re-does of established spaces (the Northside Community Centre won’t be completed until 2019).“But there’s still huge name recognition” from having a corporate name attached to their titles, said Gagnon.
She believes sponsorships will pick up as the local economy improves. Information is available on the city’s website.