Should signs recognizing donors be allowed in city parks?

Donor signs in public parks got another round of debate at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. This week, Connie Edmonston, director of parks and recreation proposed stipulations for the size of the signs, which would correspond with the size of the donation. For instance, a contribution of $50,000 to $100,000 could be granted a sign of up to 16 square feet.

“The plaques on the signage will be somehow blended in to that facility, so it’s not just a sign sticking out in front of it saying someone’s name or a company’s name,” Edmonston said.

At previous meetings, Alderman Sarah Lewis has expressed concern for allowing corporate logos in public places.

According to the ordinance, names and corporate logos could be placed on signs, but slogans and logo colors would not be allowed. On trails, the signs could be a maximum of four square feet. Park signs could be up to 16 square feet.

The city already recognizes donors with plaques on park benches, Don Marr, the mayor’s chief of staff said. And, back in December, the council approved the donation for Iams Dog Park currently under construction at Bryce Davis Park.

“We’re bringing this to you because we have limitations financially,” Marr said, adding that permitting this type of sponsorship could mean things could be developed more quickly.

“We want everyone to give out of the goodness of their heart, but some people do it for recognition that their organization is committed to these kinds of principles,” Marr said.

Alderman Matthew Petty said he supported the measure, but still had a concern about letting groups have naming rights to park structures. He added that he hoped the signs wouldn’t just be a marketing tool, but also be contextual with the surroundings, such as a sign that included safety tips.

Any structure named for a donor would have to be approved by the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and then approved by the City Council.

Alderman Bobby Ferrell said he was confident in the process and in the staff to make sound decisions about the signs.

“I’d rather have that trail with a two by two sign than not have the trail,” he said.

The ordinance is on its third reading and will be discussed again at the July 20 meeting.

So what say ye, Flyers? Would these potential donor signs in Fayetteville parks be intrusive? Where should the line be drawn? Am I the only person in the world who finds this whole debate terribly interesting?

Proposed Parks/Trails Naming Policy

CategoryDonationPark RecognitionTrail Recognition
Copper$5000-$10,000Plaque up to 1 square foot, press releasePlaque up to 1 square foot, press release
Bronze$10,000-$25,000Plaque/sign up to 4 square feet, ribbon cutting, press releasePlaque/sign up to 2 square feet, press release
Silver$25,000-$50,000Sign up to 12 square feet, grand opening, naming rights, press releaseSign up to 3 square feet, ribbon cutting, press release
Gold$50,000-$100,000Sign up to 16 square feet, grand opening, naming rights, press releaseSign up to 4 square feet, ribbon cutting, press release
PlatinumOver $100,000City Council approvalCity Council approval
Source: AccessFayetteville

Mary Robbins is a regular contributor for the Fayetteville Flyer. She declared Fayetteville as her hometown upon moving here for college. She is a Journalism graduate who enjoys live music, the outdoors and attending city council meetings. For more of Mary’s contributions, visit her author page.