State considers granting naming rights to government facilities

Aloha Stadium

The state is moving closer to granting naming rights to those who are willing to put up money to pay for government facilities.

That practice is already in places like Aloha Stadium. The field is named for Hawaiian Airlines.

Now state lawmakers are poised to pass House Bill 318, the first step to make it easier to allow for naming rights in other public places like city parks.

If you go to any outdoor sports stadium, especially on the mainland, you can’t help but notice the advertising.

Companies like to have their names in bold print in exchange for their donations that help pay for the purchase or upkeep of public facilities.

If that were to happen here, the Outdoor Circle told KHON2 what it doesn’t want to see in plain view from a public street.

“Meaning no product names, no logos, no signs and lights,” said Marty Townsend, executive director of the Outdoor Circle. “Instead it will be discreet, tasteful signage similar to what we see today.”

The measure has drawn the interest of the City and County of Honolulu.

“The public has been demanding that the government do more with less,” said Chris Dacus, executive assistant with the city Department of Parks and Recreation. “This is just one mechanism to do just that.”

Dacus referred to the largest-ever private donation to the city: $1.2 million from Hazel McCoy back in 1968, which went to pay for the Lester McCoy Pavilion at Ala Moana Beach Park.

KHON2 asked Dacus if there was any plan to name a park, like Ala Moana Beach Park, after a corporate entity.

“No, no. There is no intention to change the name of a park. It’s for a facility within a park,” said Dacus. “We see it as just taking the existing signage and adding lettering in front of the existing signage so people are barely going to notice the change if it ends up getting adopted.”

“We have seen time and time again whether its aerial advertising or billboard on vehicles, that the people of Hawaii do not want to see excessive outdoor advertising,” said Townsend.

Dacus said even if HB318 becomes law, there will still need to be another change to the state procurement law, and at the city level, there will also have to be a new ordinance to allow for the advertising.

Townsend said another bill that would have allowed for outdoor advertising, HB314, died in the state legislature.

Townsend also referred to the ban on billboards, a law that has been in place since 1927.

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