Reynoldsburg Parks and Recreation Director Joe Brown has brought in significant dollars for the city's parks programs with a new sponsorship program.
Brown said local companies and organizations have donated $20,589, with the bulk of the funds -- $16,400 -- coming from the Reynoldsburg Fraternal Order of Eagles.
Durkin Consulting donated $100; Four Seasons Garden Club gave $150; Dick's Sporting Goods gave $1,500; Hillview Veterinary Clinic gave $750; Kim Ranney Photography gave $1,239 and WesBanco Bank gave $450.
Brown said the money will be spent on recreational supplies and equipment for park programs, including portable pitching mounds, storage sheds for the community gardens, recreational equipment and supplies for the Edible Schoolyard Project, soccer goals and other equipment and supplies for the city's youth athletic leagues.
In return, sponsors might have their logos on team jerseys or get the opportunity to insert promotional items in packets of information, he said. Sponsors might also have banners or signs displayed on outfield fencing at the city's sports fields or on the athletic websites.
"When an organization is looking for sponsorship dollars, we must keep in mind that it takes time to develop that relationship with the possible sponsor," Brown said. "We must be willing to put that time in if we expect possible business/organizations to see the value in sponsoring their local parks and recreation."
In the packet Brown distributes to potential sponsors, he lists ways they could regularly support the city's local sports teams. A "fan sponsor" would give $450 annually to include their company's logo on jerseys. A sports team sponsor could give $750 per season for the opportunity to have company logos on division jerseys for the season and the opportunity to display promotional items or insert those items in youth packets.
A sports league sponsor gives $1,500 annually to get their company name on the league of their choice, display banners at sports fields, the skate park and the senior center, along with other perks, such as the company logo included in the city's special event marketing material.
An athletic sports complex outfield sponsor gives $2,700 annually and gets two banners displayed on the outfield fencing at adult softball and youth baseball complexes and their company name on the parks and recreation website and on the recreation guide.
For $6,000 annually, a sports champion sponsor may display banners and promotional items on Reynoldsburg sports complex outfield fences, sponsor two athletic programs, get the company name and logo on team jerseys for the season and other perks, such as company name recognition on the websites and all athletic league advertising.
"There is no right or wrong way to attract sponsors, but the common denominator, in my eyes, is that you must make the possible sponsor see the value of the sponsorship," Brown said. "You help the company see that through sponsoring parks and recreation programs, you are reaching a large amount of people within the community.
"We want this to be a welcoming and simple process, while allowing sponsors to see the value in community building through sponsorship," he said.
City Attorney Jed Hood said the sponsorship program does not conflict with any city codes.
"I have been in contact with Joe over these funds, and it is no different than any other donation given to the city for a specific purpose," he said.
Brown said the money will help expand some of the parks programs, such as the community gardens.
"Right now, there is nowhere to store tools and equipment when you garden in the community gardens," he said. "So we want to build some storage sheds. Each plot would have its own cubbyhole and storage unit."
He said $3,000 will go to the Edible Schoolyard Project, a program of the city's new Camp Adventure, a day camp coordinated with Kiddie Academy.
Brown said the students from Camp Adventure will take over two plots at the community garden and will be marketing some of the vegetables they grow at the Reynoldsburg Farmers Market. Other vegetables will be harvested for use in the culinary department at Hannah Ashton Middle School.