By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Some of Chatham-Kent’s most significant assets could have new names in the future.
Chatham-Kent council is moving towards a naming rights sponsorship strategy that would see corporate sponsors pay for the right to have their business or title listed as part of the name, whether it is a building, or other asset such as a park or athletic field.
The municipality has six properties for consideration so far, including the Capitol Theatre, the Thames Campus Arena, Chatham-Kent Memorial Arena, Kingston Park, the skateboard park on Grand Avenue and the Chatham-Kent Public Library main branch in Chatham.
Council approved the second phase of the strategy at a recent meeting following a presentation from Dan Cimoroni, owner of The Naming Rights Company (NRC).
Contracted by the municipality, the NRC would earn a commission on any name-change deals made in Chatham-Kent.
The move has proved to be lucrative for other municipalities. In Leamington, Nature Fresh Farms is paying nearly $1 million for a 15-year naming agreement with the town’s recreation centre.
Some C-K councillors expressed concerns about the proposal.
Mary Claire Latimer, a member of the library board, wanted to ensure money raised from naming rights would be used to benefit the library system.
Cathy Hoffman, general manager of corporate services for Chatham-Kent, assured council that any naming right changes would be discussed thoroughly with the facility’s stakeholders.
Cimoroni said all costs associated with changing existing signs would be borne by the organization purchasing the rights. He said names changes wouldn’t necessarily see a complete change, the sponsorship name could be added on as “funded by” or “powered by.”
Any changes will need to be approved by council.