Moniker-selling venture a hit for parks

The city’s first foray into selling naming rights for local parks is already paying off, netting $190,000 for renovations at Burton Park and setting the stage for a potential bevy of fundraising opportunities.

San Carlos created an independent nonprofit foundation in 2006 to raise money for local parks, and this year ironed out the rules for selling naming rights to benches, buildings, playground equipment and other features in local parks. The first naming rights opened up this summer, helping the city raise some of the $800,000 it will need to renovate Burton Park, including the first fully accessible playground on the Peninsula for kids with disabilities, said Parks and Recreation Director Barry Weiss.

Some of the larger donations include $80,000 from Howard Girdlestone for a water feature, $30,000 in donated construction time from CW Wright Construction Company and Peninsula Demolition, and donations of $10,000 to $20,000 to pay for everything from swing sets to a sand-play area, Weiss said.

While San Carlos struggles to make ends meet, the foundation — and naming rights — offer the city a way to raise money and ensures donors that their money will go to something specific, said Vice Mayor Brad Lewis.

“This assures them that when money is given, it goes to that item,” said Lewis, who donated $10,050 to Burton Park renovations and another $10,050 to the city’s athletic-fields fund.

So far, naming rights have only been open to residents, but the San Carlos Parks and Recreation Foundation is planning to approach the business community soon, said Girdlestone, who is president of the foundation’s board.

Despite the success so far, San Carlos officials hope to raise another $600,000 through donations and the sales of naming rights to play structures, picnic areas and other features, Weiss said.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

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