The City Council voted 6-1 to allow park signs to recognize donors at Tuesday night’s meeting.
Alderman Sarah Lewis was in opposition of the measure and has been critical of allowing corporate donors to have their names attached to public spaces. Because of those concerns, city staff altered the ordinance since it was first discussed with the council.
The name of a park or facility recognizing a donor will now have to be approved by the council. For trails, a sign at the trailhead cannot exceed 4 square feet, and along the trail, signs cannot be larger than 1.5 square feet.
Even with the changes, some residents were still uneasy about allowing the signs, particularly ones that would carry the logo and name of a company.
“I’m afraid we are now going to pimp out our parks,” said Karon Reese.
Lewis proposed an amendment that would strike the use of logos on park signs, arguing that logos are subliminal and that type of messaging particularly affects children.
“Our public spaces should be a spot of reprieve from this type of advertising,” Lewis said.
But, striking the logo could deter corporations from donating, said Terry Eastin, a Fayetteville resident who helped fundraise for The Medical Mile in Little Rock, a corporate-sponsored section of the Arkansas River Trail. When you remove the opportunity for a company to use their logo, “you’re telling that donor you don’t value their donation,” Eastin said.
That amendment was voted down by a vote 4-3, with Aldermen Lewis, Robert Rhoads and Matthew Petty in favor.
Alderman Brenda Thiel said allowing for sponsorship could help the city to expand the trail system and keep up maintenance.
We just don’t have the funding to continue like we have,” Thiel said.
Park facility donor recognition categories
Bronze – Receives a plaque up to 1 square foot.
Silver – Receives a ribbon cutting, naming rights, and a sign up to 4 square feet.
Gold – Receives a ribbon cutting, naming rights, and a sign up to 12 square feet.
Platinum – Receives a ribbon cutting, naming rights, and a sign up to 16 square feet.
Trail facility donor recognition categories
Silver – Receives a ribbon cutting, and a plaque up to 1.5 square feet.
Gold – Receives a ribbon cutting, and a sign up to 4 square feet.
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.