City adopts advertising/sponsorship policies
Published on March 25, 2021
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The City Commission adopted a series of resolutions Tuesday regulating transit-related advertising and sponsorships, parks and recreation sponsorships and parks naming protocols. The policies assist with gaining the necessary financial and in-kind support that is becoming even more critical to sustain and expand parks, facilities, recreational opportunities and various transit programs.
Transit Advertising Policy
The new Transit Advertising Policy allows for and governs advertising on City-owned or controlled transit facilities and transit vehicles. This currently encompass DASH buses and all mobility and transit stop amenities (scooter and bike share infrastructure, stops, shelters, and benches) within City limits. The policy does not apply to The Rapid buses as the Interurban Transit Partnership (ITP) already has an agency advertising policy. The policy also covers advertising on emerging mobility and transit modes including shared micromobility and autonomous passenger vehicles.
Mobile GR Director Josh Naramore said, “Potential benefits of increased revenue include improvement of bus stops and amenities through more robust cleaning and maintenance, as well as seeking future innovative and modern mobility solutions.”
He said only commercial advertisements will be permitted on transit facilities and vehicles. Ads containing political campaign speech, profanity or violence and promoting products such as tobacco, marijuana, alcohol, firearms, ammunition, and adult entertainment, among others, will not be permitted.
Naming or renaming parks and recreational facilities
Commission approved this policy allowing for important recognition of donors who may wish to financially support improvements within the city’s system of 75 parks and open spaces.
The policy helps guide individuals and organizations interested in naming or re-naming:
- a park, building or major feature named for a significant person, event or place
- a park, building or major feature associated with a major gift
Parks and Recreation Director David Marquardt said naming or renaming parks and recreational facilities in the City is a complex issue as it is a powerful and permanent identity for a public place. “The names of parks, buildings and major features tell the important stories of Grand Rapids history,” he said.
Naming request approvals involve the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, the Parks and Recreation Department and ultimately the city manager and city commission. The policy reserves the naming or renaming of parks and recreational facilities to those circumstances which tradition and practice have shown to best serve the interests of the City and assure a worthy and enduring legacy for the City’s parks and recreation system. To this end, the department supports consideration of naming requests in the following three broad categories:
- Exceptional individuals
- Historic events, places and persons
- Major gifts
Parks and Recreation & Mobile GR Sponsorships
The Commission also approved a new sponsorship policy and amended the existing Parks and Recreation partnership and sponsorship program.
The new policy aims to create more sophisticated business partnerships with for-profit sectors in the form of event, program, project and site sponsorships. Marquardt says the mutually-beneficial business agreements provide an important marketing venue for businesses and an opportunity for them to align themselves with the Parks and Recreation Department’s public mission to provide inspirational experiences through the responsible management and collaborative stewardship of the City’s natural, educational and cultural resources.
Naramore said that Mobile GR will use this policy to promote opportunities for partners to assist in delivering innovative, efficient and equitable mobility solutions that are safe, affordable and convenient to the community.
The policy offers two sponsorship categories around event and project sponsorships. These include financial or in-kind support for a department organized event on City property and for a specific department project, typically a one-time effort.
- Program sponsorships may include a series of on-going activities like youth sports, classes or commuter training.
- Site sponsorships may include support for specific places or features (e.g. park entry flower beds, river walkways and planting beds, shared mobility docking stations or bicycle repair stands).
City Commission also amended its Adopt-A- Park, and Parks and Recreation partnership and sponsorship programs policy. The policy established a procedure and basic criteria for organizations, donors and volunteers seeking to provide or partner with the Parks and Recreation Department in the provision of funds, programs or facilities uses.
Because the Parks and Recreation Department and Mobile GR created the more robust sponsorship policy, the Commission revised the 2005 “Adopt-A-Park Program in Parks and Recreation” policy. Commission removed references to sponsorships and partnerships and directed those wanting to establish a formal sponsorship to follow the new policy. The Adopt-A-Park Program in Parks and Recreation policy allows for individuals, volunteer groups, neighborhood associations and businesses to take an active role in improving, maintaining, and beautifying parks, riverfront, trails, or other city-owned green spaces.
For a presentation detailing the mobility advertising, sponsorship and park naming policies outline above, please CLICK HERE.