Center to begin name game

SALEM -- Area residents and businesses can put their name on the community center now being built, for a price.
The board that's overseeing construction and operation of the private, nonprofit center has decided to raise money by selling naming rights to parts of the facility, Eric Green, its director, said Monday.
It will cost $250,000 to have the pool named after a person or business; $150,000 lands naming rights to the gymnasium; and $50,000 is the price to buy naming rights for each of the three conference rooms being constructed in the center.
Also being sold are name plaques that will be placed in prominent places in the center. A gold-colored plaque will cost $25,000. The price for silver is $15,000.
So far, there are no plans to sell the right to name the center itself. But it hasn't been ruled out.
"If someone wants to do something significant" in terms of offering a large sum, it will be considered, Green said.
Money raised by selling naming rights will be used for future improvements to the center and for programs such as helping pay for memberships for people who can't afford it, Green said.
Center organizers have yet to determine how much it will cost to join the center.
Before setting fees, organizers first need to get an idea of how many people will be joining the center and how much it's going to cost to operate the facility.
Those factors will be used to determine how much it will cost to join. The center will rely largely on fees to pay for operations.
Plans had called for the center to launch a Web site this week that would provide details about the center and collect data to help organizers estimate how many prospective members the facility will have.
But the Web site launch is delayed until later this month because the name organizers intended to use was taken in March by a community center in Salem, Ill., Green explained.
Organizers are hopeful that fees can be announced this fall in time for the Christmas shopping season when memberships could be sold as gifts, he said.
Plans are to have the 50,000-square-foot center open by fall 2002.
In July, workers began laying foundation at the project site along North Ellsworth Avenue near 12th Street.
Cost of the facility will be about $9.5 million. Money to build it was donated by the Salem Community Foundation, a Salem-based charitable organization.

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