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HMH sponsorship of Sports Park approved

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Elizabethtown retains naming rights of Miracle Field

By Marty Finley

Elizabethtown Sports Park authorized a new revenue stream Monday without giving up the naming rights to the Miracle Field.

Elizabethtown City Council approved a revised proposal from Hardin Memorial Hospital offering $55,000 annually in sponsorships for a three-year period and establishing full-time athletic training services and supplies for the park, including league games, at a projected value of $77,000 per year.

In exchange for the $55,000 sponsorship, HMH has been named the exclusive medical provider and supplier for the park. Space will be set aside for an educational kiosk at each pavilion; a designated first aid station will be constructed with banners, tents and a training room. HMH will be listed on brochures, promotional materials and the park’s website. HMH services will be included in regional maps at each pavilion. The hospital will have access to the park for sports performance and wellness programs; and a permanent, centrally located space will be established for an athletic training program.

Councilman Marty Fulkerson questioned whether the city will have to redo maps and existing promotional materials to include HMH, but Park Director Seth Breitner said the agreement would apply to future materials.

The remaining $22,000 of the deal must be paid by the city but can be generated by charging rental fees to hosting organizations that require athletic training services, Breitner said. Of the roughly 45 events scheduled for the upcoming season, more than 25 will require training services, he said.

HMH also pledges to hold periodic educational seminars for athletes, coaches and parents while the city maintains naming rights to the Miracle Field, a field designed to accommodate athletes with disabilities, as long as the sponsor is not a competitor of any HMH service line.

A competing offer, proposed by Kentucky Orthopedic Rehab Team at $77,000 per year for a three-year period, would have allowed the city to retain naming rights to the Miracle Field without restraints on sponsors.

Fulkerson said he does not believe a competing health care provider, such as Norton Healthcare, would want the naming rights for the field so it should not limit the city’s ability to attract a strong sponsor.

“I still think that field is a premium field,” he said.

Councilman Ron Thomas, who made the motion to accept the HMH proposal, said he believes the HMH deal offers more monetary rewards than the KORT offer and gives the city more freedom.

At $60,000 per year, the KORT proposal offered $5,000 more in sponsorship money. Like HMH, KORT requested a designated first aid station and a centrally located athletic training room and requested Elizabethtown’s permission to promote itself as the “Official Sports Medicine Partner of the Elizabethtown Sports Park.” The proposal would have required the park to place the KORT logo on its website with a link to KORT’s website. In exchange, the sports park logo and a link to its website would have been placed on the KORT website.

KORT also pledged educational seminars, complimentary consultations at all of its locations for Elizabethtown Sports Park athletes sustaining injuries during an event and four scholarships to KORT’s summer student trainer camp for high school students and athletes active in the park’s recreational league.

Both proposals included a mechanism for additional trainers if needed, offered at $25 an hour by KORT. HMH did not specify an hourly rate in its proposal but Breitner said additional trainers were offered by HMH last year at $60 an hour.

Fulkerson said the rate should have been locked down on the HMH proposal but believes the city negotiate out a fair and competitive rate with HMH that organizations will be willing to pay. He preferred the HMH deal because the city already has a relationship at the park with HMH trainers.

Both companies resubmitted proposals after the city received incorrect information about the bids from its consultant, Property Consulting Group out of Chicago, Fulkerson said.

Breitner originally recommended a proposal by KORT designating a trainer for the sports park during a three-year period for all events needed, including league games, at a cost of $62,000 per year. The sum included supplies and a cart needed to haul stretchers, Breitner said.

To offset the costs for the trainer, KORT offered $30,000 for the naming rights of the Miracle Field each year 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 that might include training rooms or tents the organization would operate from. The remaining $22,000 would have been recouped by charging organizations for the use of the trainer at a daily or hourly rate.

The original proposal offered by HMH consisted of training services for the season at $77,000 based on a yearly figure. Breitner said HMH did not offer sponsorships nor did it specify whether a trainer would be designated specifically for the park in its first proposal. The city contracted with HMH for trainer services during seven events in its opening season. All of those charges were covered by fees paid by the organizations except a Cal Ripken baseball tournament, where the city absorbed the cost because it was hosting the event, Breitner said.

Robbie Hinkebein, a physical therapist and trainer for KORT, said the company was disappointed with the outcome and confident it would receive the contract because it offered fewer direct costs to the city and a lower hourly rate for additional trainers. Several representatives for the company attended the council meeting.

Hinkebein said he has the utmost respect for HMH’s training services, but felt KORT would have been a better liaison to visiting athletes from other parts of the state and other states, considering its national footprint.

Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com.

In other news

Elizabethtown approved a five-year property tax abatement and a state tax incentive for Flex Films USA that includes the refund of 1 percent of the Elizabethtown occupational license fee for 10 years. 

Mayor Tim Walker said the incentives were a housekeeping measure because the city failed to include the state incentives when originally approving incentives for the Indian manufacturer. 

Uflex Ltd., parent company of Flex Films USA, has promised a $180 million capital investment in the city and will boast a payroll in the tens of millions, according to officials. 

Founded in 1983, Uflex is an industry leader in the manufacture of polyester chips, specialty films, coated and metallized film, laminates, pouches, holographic films and adhesives used in packaging.