Burlington law firm offers to give the city $1.3 million over 20 years to have their name on the Alton recreation centre.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON. May 31, 2013 – The city’s community services committee approved a staff recommendation to name the new recreation centre in the Alton community the Haber Recreation Centre.

Through a contract agreement, Burlington law firm Haber and Associates would give the city more than $1.3 million over 20 years for the naming rights. The name would become official following the signing of an agreement between the city and Haber if approved at the June 10 council meeting.

Haber and Associates have been aggressive advertisers using the space on city buses for public exposure.

Haber and Associates focus on wrongful death and personal injury law and advertise themselves as a full service law firm with nine lawyers as part of the 30 member firm. They have done business in Burlington for more than 40 years.

The new recreation centre is part of the city’s largest community construction project made possible through a unique, three-way partnership between the City of Burlington, Halton District School Board and Burlington Public Library. With construction on the project 85 per cent complete, the facility is on time to open in September 2013.

The staff report recommends the sponsorship money go into a newly-created reserve fund, which contributes to capital repair and renewals of the recreation facility.

The high school part of the complex that is to include the recreation centre and a library is to be named after Frank Hayden, founder of the Special Olympics.

The complex will become a little like the McMaster School of Business on the South Service Road where the DeGroote` s have their name on one part of the building and Ron Joyce has his name on another part.

Our buildings are beginning to look like those uniforms racing car drivers wear.

But the money is good – let`s just hope the signage is dignified and done with some taste.

The city brought in a consulting firm to guide them and determine what the market would bear in terms of setting a price and determining what wold be acceptable to the community.

The consultants did point out that Burlington missed out on a larger opportunity for sponsorship by not having some kind of policy co-ordination between the three organizations that are part of the complex.

The level of co-operation on the overseeing of the construction of the project has not been the smoothest.  The Board of Education took the lead on this one and – let`s just say things the city wanted to do didn’t get done – Board of Education said no.

Prior to these small recent incidents the project has gone particularly well.  The project is on target for a September opening, which is going to make a huge difference to the Alton community.

Facility gymnasium space has been offered to the user groups with approximately 90% of weekday evenings (up to 11:00 pm) and weekends booked for Fall 2013 – Spring 2014. Of that time, 68% is allocated to youth and 32% to adult play. Primary sports targets of basket ball, volleyball, badminton and disabled sports have been met with rentals. Tournament play consists of 900 hrs booked to date including large events with the focus on disabled sports, volleyball, basketball and kickboxing.

Community rooms will be booked for on – going programs Monday to Friday with current interest from a variety of service providers (i.e.Montessori program, yoga, fitness and educational services).

Weekend use will primarily connect to tournament use. Further marketing initiatives are planned to target rentals for the community rooms to maximize utilization.

With the support and direction of the consultant hired, staff developed a sponsorship strategy which included:

An estimated annual value the city may obtain for the naming rights of each component of the facility:

Name of the recreation centre

Name of the gyms (4 in total)

Name of the Multi-purpose room

Name of the Sports room

Name of the Sports Square

 No stones left unturned by this approach.

 Sixty to seventy thousand a year for the facility, Haber and Associates will get this if Council approves it on the 10th of June.  Haber has agreed to $68,000 a year for the next twenty years.

$15,000 – “20,000 to name a gymnasium – there are four of those.

Getting your name on the multipurpose room will cost you $12,000 to $15,000 a year and the Sports Square will cost you between $15,000 and $17,000.

What the city doesn’t want is buildings plastered with corporate decals and looking like the uniforms racing car drivers wear.

Staff within Parks and Recreation feels that broadening the Naming Rights project is important to help the City find new revenue sources to support future capital repair and

renewal requirements. The City has a large number of assets from facilities to parks to roads etc. that have the potential to generate additional revenue, through the sale of

naming rights. However to ensure a successful naming sponsorship outcome, time and resources will be required.

 If Council is interested in pursuing the sale of naming rights across the City, the assignment of this project, to a corporate department, through the direction of the General Manager of Community and Corporate Services, would be essential. The lead corporate department would determine the need for internal and external resources.

At a different city council meeting there was discussion on the number of personal injury legal claims the city is facing; several are in the more than a million range with at least one having to do with an injury that is reported to have taken place on a bus.

Municipalities are well insured and are seen as solid financial targets for those seeking damages.



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