“Community pool, not corporate billboard”

"We’re already looking forward to April, and our first trip of the new baseball season to that ballpark across the water. You know, that ballpark. The one named after some company or other. Yes, we’re fully cognizant of its formal title. But you can count us among the throwbacks who just can’t get used to that name. We’d rather have seen the awesome facility dubbed, say, King Street Grounds, or some other moniker that suggests a regional or geographic identity, rather than just becoming another billboard for corporate largesse."

  • Thursday, January 20, 2000 5:00am
  • News

“We’re already looking forward to April, and our first trip of the new baseball season to that ballpark across the water. You know, that ballpark. The one named after some company or other. Yes, we’re fully cognizant of its formal title. But you can count us among the throwbacks who just can’t get used to that name. We’d rather have seen the awesome facility dubbed, say, King Street Grounds, or some other moniker that suggests a regional or geographic identity, rather than just becoming another billboard for corporate largesse. We mull this as the park board considers “selling” naming rights to the new pool as a way to make up the current shortfall – $350,000 is the latest figure to be bandied about – in project funding. We, like park Commissioner Dave Shorett, would hate to see the facility’s community identity compromised by the attachment of a commercial label. Service clubs we can live with, or maybe a deep-pocketed benefactor; examples of both are ingrained in the island lexicon. The ideal would, though, surely be something along the lines of the Bainbridge Island Aquatic Facility.But, as park commissioners unfortunately may find, desperate times beget desperate measures. And the larger issue here is the increasing tendency – but questionable wisdom – of our public agencies counting on fund drives to make up deliberate shortfalls in big ticket projects. Indeed, key to pushing the pool past voters in its fifth try was the promise that backers would raise a somewhat arbitrary amount – $500,000 was the figure bandied about – in private money, once the project was approved. As is now apparent, there hasn’t been any actual plan for how to raise that sum, just the assumption that it could be done because of our noble but naive belief that islanders will simply somehow come through for their own without fail. We’re all for private donations. But waiting until construction deadlines start rolling around to think about fund drives is poor practice. If we’re going to low-ball tax support of public projects, we as a community had best be ready to back them up with cash – or in will stride any number of outfits with ideas of their own for, amongst other things, the name.Big Insurance Company Pool, anyone?We certainly hope not.”

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