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City officials are considering a sponsorship proposal at the Elizabethtown Sports Park that would offer revenue to cover the cost of a full-time trainer in exchange for the naming rights to the miracle field.
Park Director Seth Breitner presented two proposals to Elizabethtown City Council Monday relating to medical coverage needed for events on the park’s upcoming 2013 schedule. Of the 45 or so events already booked, at least 23 will require the services of a trainer, Breitner said.
Breitner recommended a proposal by The Kentucky Orthopedic Rehab Team (KORT), which has agreed to designate a trainer for the sports park during a three-year period for all events needed, including league games, at a cost of $62,000. The sum includes supplies and a cart needed to haul stretchers, Breitner said.
To offset the costs for the trainer, KORT has offered $30,000 for the naming rights of the miracle field during the three-year period and a $10,000 safety sponsorship in which “safety zones” could be set up in the park to increase the organization’s visibility. Breitner said this may include training rooms or tents the organization could operate from. The remaining $22,000 could be recouped by charging organizations for the use of the trainer at a daily or hourly rate. Breitner said the city would set a rate comparable to other facilities as not to overcharge while holding it high enough to cover expenses.
The other proposal, offered by Hardin Memorial Hospital, consisted of training services for the season at $77,000 based on a yearly figure. HMH did not offer sponsorships nor did it specify whether a trainer would be designated specifically for the park in its proposal, Breitner said. The city contracted with HMH for trainer services during seven events in its opening season. All of those charges were covered by fees attributed to the organizations except for the Cal Ripken baseball tournament, where the city absorbed the cost because it was hosting the event, Breitner said.
The $30,000 offered for the naming rights is based on the value placed on the field by Property Consulting Group, a Chicago-based firm hired by the city to market the park and net sponsorships. The field was designed specifically to accommodate athletes with physical disabilities.
Councilman Marty Fulkerson opposed the proposal, saying he would hate to relinquish the naming rights in a simple trade when the city might be able to attract a more lucrative deal with stronger revenue benefits.
“Why would you give up that jewel for a trade?” he asked the council.
Breitner said there has been interest in the naming rights of the field, but PCG has scouted the offer and believes it has value because of its potential to serve as a catalyst for more business if companies sense the window is narrowing to make a move.
“Once the name is taken, it usually has a domino effect,” Breitner said.
Should the city walk away from the deal, on the other hand, Breitner said it may have unintended side effects.
“It could just be sitting there as it is,” he said of the field.
Other members of the council advocated for the deal, saying they support a scenario where the city could completely offload the expense of a needed service at the park. Councilman Ron Thomas noted the deal would be temporary and the city would regain the rights to the name in a few years if it was not satisfied.
The council will address the issue Monday at its voting meeting.
Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 firstname.lastname@example.org.