Attaching corporate names to facilities owned by Montgomery Parks is nothing new. Just visit the Discovery Center at SoccerPlex in Germantown, named for the Discovery Channel.
But now Montgomery Parks, which is part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is developing an official corporate sponsorship policy. The Montgomery County Planning Board gave its initial approval last month.
The policy will bring in new revenue for facilities and programs, but it does not involve renaming entire parks or selling parks, according to a Feb. 11 statement from Montgomery Parks.
The naming and sponsorship program could include regional and recreational athletic fields, ice rinks, dog parks and picnic pavilions. It could also include special events and programs, such as a concert series or the Garden of Lights holiday light show at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton.
To what extent corporate messages will infiltrate parks and recreational space remains to be seen. With the initial approval from the Planning Board in hand, Parks staff are developing multiple levels of corporate sponsorship packages -- which will then go back to the Planning Board for approval before appearing on the market.
How visible of a corporate presence should park-goers expect in the future? Montgomery Parks has ruled out "large billboards or other structures erected in our parks just for the purpose of sponsor recognition or advertising," according to an FAQ on the agency's website.