The Pickerington Youth Athletic Association, a private volunteer non-profit youth sports organization, has announced a primary naming partnership with Mount Carmel Health System for the athletic fields at its complex at 630 Hill Road North.
PYAA Commissioner Tony Haynes said Mount Carmel Health System will have its name on an internally illuminated ground sign that will be built at the entrance of the 26-acre Hill Road North facility.
The PYAA complex is comprised of eight baseball and softball diamonds and two football fields.
"We've started to try to figure out how we can form partnerships," Haynes said.
"One way is to bring naming rights," he said. "We've never been able to find the right suitor for that.
"Mount Carmel stepped up and they were the partner we were looking for," Haynes said. "It's a huge deal, especially for our organization."
The PYAA applied to the Pickerington Planning and Zoning Commission for approval to install a 7-foot tall by 12-foot wide brick ground sign on its property, 60 feet from the center line of Hill Road North.
According to the application, the proposed sign would say "PYAA Sports Complex" and "Mount Carmel Sports Fields" on its face.
Sept. 10, the Planning and Zoning Commission tabled the PYAA's application by a 5-0 vote because of concerns from the Pickerington Area Soccer Association, which owns soccer fields adjacent to the PYAA's fields.
"We co-own with PYAA the parking lot and the entrance to the facility," PASA president Mike Simmons told the commission.
"I talked with Tony Haynes about adding PASA to the sign," Simmons said.
"We really would appreciate the opportunity to work with PYAA, being that it is the entranceway to the entire facility, and get both names on the sign," he said.
Planning Commission member Ted Hackworth advised Simmons to meet with PYAA officials to find "some kind of middle ground."
Haynes said he had discussions with PASA officials subsequent to the Planning and Zoning meeting about the sign, but no agreement resulted from those discussions.
"We've had communications since the meeting," Haynes said.
"Right now it's unclear whether or not PASA will be included in that," he said.
"The sign project will go on," Haynes said.
"The placement of the sign will change, but the sign project will go on."
Haynes said the deal with Mount Carmel Health System, for an undisclosed sum, could be in place for at least 15 years.
"It is initially for a five-year term, with two other five-year terms in place if they want to continue, so three five-year periods," Haynes said.
When asked how such an agreement will benefit PYAA, Haynes said "it allows us to do a couple things."
"We took over that land in the 1970s, so it's 40 years old," Haynes said.
"Just like any aging public land, we've got to maintain that," he said.
"We can apply a lot of the financial aspect towards maintenance fees charged as part of fees to families.
"Anything we can do to reduce fees to allow kids to play at a lower rate is a positive thing," Haynes said.
He said the naming rights agreement with Mount Carmel Health System does not yet apply to fields that PYAA also owns on Milnor Road.
"We're working on that," Haynes said.
"It also could include the Milnor Road fields," he said.