Is it possible that White Rock Lake Park could soon be re-named "Advocate Park" if those of us who work here scrape together a few million and turn the money over to the city? That sure seems to be the latest plan Mayor Tom Leppert is pushing on the Park Department, according to a story in the Morning News. There are 336 parks in the city’s system, and so far, only one of them — Downtown’s Belo Garden, formerly Griffin Garden prior to a $6.5 million donation from the Morning News parent — carries a corporate name, so I guess we know where the Morning News stands on this issue.
The city has a pretty comprehensive written plan concerning naming rights; there’s even an "Enron clause" to prevent a "disgraced" corporation from lingering any longer than necessary in the city’s psyche. But Lakewood resident Willis Winters, assistant director of the park department, is on record saying he believes corporate names are for arenas rather than public parks. But his boss, Paul Dyer, says he’s open-minded, and why not? If Leppert is all over this, I imagine that Dyer can read the tea leaves on his future employment if he doesn’t go along with the idea. Personally, I would have to look at each deal to make a decision, but color me "skeptical" that the city is capable of wringing what it needs out of a corporation prior to hanging the corporation’s shingle at every park entrance.
Anyway, nothing is in stone yet, but for those of you who followed the verified response charge led by Leppert a few weeks ago and the pied-piper-like response he conjured from much of the council, I guess it’s time to start putting our cash in a pillowcase to see what the Advocate might be able to buy … I’m thinking the naming rights to the bank of port-o-lets frequently located at Winfrey Point might be within our budget.