City and General Motors reach naming-rights accord

YOUNGSTOWN -- City and General Motors officials have a deal in principle concerning the naming rights of the Chevrolet Centre.
It will be about two more weeks before the contract is signed, said city Finance Director David Bozanich.
A few details -- such as the naming by GM of the nearby parking garage and the possibility of a stand-alone sign outside the facility -- need to be resolved before the deal is done, Bozanich said.
"There is no doubt the deal will be signed," he added.
City and GM officials announced Nov. 17, 2005, the facility's name, the Chevrolet Centre, and some of the details of the contract.
GM, which builds Chevrolet Cobalts at the nearby Lordstown complex, is to pay $175,000 in cash annually and provide $25,000 worth of vehicle use for the facility. The deal is for three years with 17 annual options.
To date, GM paid $25,000 for the naming rights. The rest of the money will come when the deal is signed, Bozanich said.
At the Nov. 17 announcement, Bozanich said a deal with GM would be finalized by the end of the year.
But Bozanich said Friday that delays were caused by the December departure of the center's then-executive director, which led to the city's handling negotiations, and because GM requires several specific provisions in the contract, such as the sizes, locations and manufacturer of the signs.
Wrapping up
Negotiations will wrap up in about two weeks, and the signs will be placed on and in the facility about the same time, Bozanich said.
Since the Nov. 17 announcement, a temporary vinyl sign identifying the city-owned building's name as the Chevrolet Centre has hung near the main entrance.
There will be signs placed on the outside of the facility identifying it as the Chevrolet Centre, including on the marquee. The marquee will cost about $200,000, Bozanich said.
Another exterior sign will have the Chevrolet bow tie trademark symbol with the word centre below it.
Also, the center's name will be placed on five poles in the facility's parking lot. The name will be on the inside video scoreboard and in other interior locations.
The two sides are discussing a stand-alone sign outside the facility to identify it as the Chevrolet Centre, Bozanich said.
As for the nearby 960-vehicle plaza parking deck, owned by USA Parking, GM is still considering different names for it. It was announced in November that the five-story deck would be called GM Park Place. But the deck's name still hasn't been finalized, Bozanich said.
The naming rights permits GM to use the facility twice a year for meetings at no additional cost.
Buying GM
Also, city officials promised to make "best good-faith efforts" to buy GM vehicles through state purchasing contracts for their fleet as part of the deal.
The city already has bought a few GM trucks, and it will replace its Ford Crown Victoria police patrol fleet this year with 12 new Chevrolet Impalas, Bozanich said.
Also, a deal to sign a contract to have an AF2 [Arena Football League minor league] team play at the facility next year should be finished by the end of the month, Bozanich said.
The city's board of control approved Friday an agreement with Youngstown State University to use the center six times a year at a discount price. The agreement was a provision included in $2 million given from the state capital budget for the center.
The Ohio Board of Regents also needs to approve the deal, something expected to happen shortly, Bozanich said.

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