Want football stadium named after you?

Forever Parks fundraiser has several options
Feb. 27, 2013 @ 11:36 PM

At a recent work session at City Hall, city commission members heard updates on a proposed plan to sell naming rights to features in the new Wear Farm City Park. The park is scheduled to open in March.

The plan was presented by Jerry Wear, a board member of Forever Parks Foundation, the nonprofit organization that oversees the naming effort.

"The purpose is to raise money to help [Pigeon Forge] parks without taxpayer or city money," Wear said. "Not just the one being built, but the entire park system."

Wear handed out draft copies of a brochure listing naming options for park features, among them the football stadium and the basketball court. Naming rights could be sold to individuals or corporations, Wear noted.

"We have time limits" for naming rights, Wear said. "Some are short in duration, as short as 10 years. Some are forever."

The priciest naming rights are for the baseball complex, the park's most prominent feature. The foundation proposes a $750,000 donation for permanent naming rights to the complex. A donation of $250,000, $500,000 or $600,000 would secure rights for 10 years, 20 years or the rest of the century, respectively.

Permanent naming rights to the football stadium would be $400,000, and for the basketball court they would be $50,000. The least expensive naming rights: $2,500 for park benches.

Donations are to be invested in a fund, Wear noted, and park improvements will be paid for with the interest. "We want to establish a foundation that grows," Wear said. "When the city comes up with new ideas, there'll be extra money from outside sources."

Because of a federal backlog, Forever Parks Foundation has not yet received its tax-exempt status. For now, donations are being held by the similar Knox County group Legacy Parks Foundation. Fundraising already is under way for building a playground at the new park.

At the work session, commission members also heard details of a new system for the city's utility billing. It would let customers use credit cards and pay online, city finance director Dennis Clabo said. Commissioners will vote on the system at an upcoming meeting.

In addition, Commissioners were briefed on a plan to reimburse Barker Industries for removing trees at the city's proposed baseball tournament facility. The commission approved the reimbursement at its regular meeting Monday night.

kburns@themountainpress.com