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Field naming rights conditions change in Brentwood

| Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 9:05 p.m.

Seeking corporate sponsors — think PNC Park or Heinz Field — for a borough field or facility comes with too great of a risk, a majority of Brentwood Council members said Monday.

And, they said, these places should be named after a person who means something to Brentwood.

“It's about service. It's not about the highest bidder,” Mayor Dennis Troy said.

Councilman Dean Trent, a member of the borough's naming rights committee, said Monday that the committee will recommend tabeling a naming-rights policy. He cited worries that the borough could seek bidders for naming rights for a particular field and not know who ultimately will be the highest bidder.

“We might not want those organizations to be the name of our public park,” Trent said.

Borough parks should be “named after someone who has dedicated tremendously to organizations and/or personal service to the borough for a length of time,” Councilwoman Stephanie Fox said.

After a lengthy discussion, council members unanimously voted to name a baseball field previously known as “Field 2” after longtime Brentwood Athletic Association President James Attanucci.

“I think Jim has done a tremendous job,” Troy said. “Whether you agree with him on everything, that's a different question, but the service that he has provided to this community is the reason why people should have facilities named after them.”

Borough officials worked for years on drafting a naming-rights policy for the municipality that would set guidelines on how a field or borough property could be named. The policy, although long in the works, never was adopted by council, members said Monday.

Councilman Rich Schubert questioned why his colleagues, who as recently as March were pursuing naming rights for borough fields, now have changed their tune.

“This was set up to be a funding for our park, to defer costs from taxpayers,” Schubert said.

Brentwood leaders were using ordinances from other communities that have implemented naming-rights policies as a model, Schubert said.

Schubert questioned why the borough was going to “throw away money” by not accepting funds to name municipal fields.

This move doesn't mean that officials will not have advertisements in the park or allow people to pay for benches to recognize a relative, council members said.

Solicitor John Daley said that public entities must consider the forum — public or private — and be consistent when enforcing naming-rights policies.

“Basically, you're walking a very fine line every time you decide whether you can or cannot name something,” council President Marty Vickless said. “Is that worth the hassle of what we're trying to do here?”

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or shacke@tribweb.com.

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