But that doesn't mean a bar or brand of cigarettes will be gracing the uniforms of the youth soccer team, said John M. Whalen Jr., the recreation director for the Parks and Recreation Department.
"As long as an organization seems to be within our (the Recreation Commission's) mission, we'll consider sponsorships," said Whalen
, who has overseen the department for 28 years.
"A bar's target market is not youth, but ours is, so that right there would disqualify them," he
The new sponsorship program opens up a private source of revenue to the town's sports teams, allowing businesses to sponsor programs, materials or services that would otherwise be fiscally unattainable.
Appropriate public recognition for donations would be determined by the Recreation Commission
said the list of possible sponsorship items is not limited to logo-bearing uniforms.
"Well, the idea of putting lights in Leahy Field has been kicking around for awhile," he
said."We brought that up at a town meeting, but it was shot down."
Other possible targets for the sponsorship program are field improvements and new equipment.
Before an item can be accepted or purchased using donated funds, the Recreation Commission
will have to approve it.After that, the proposal will go before the Board of Selectmen
for its approval.
said this two-part process makes it easier for the Recreation Department to keep track of its budget and programs.Without that control, he
department could end up spending additional funds to support the use of donated items.
"Take a computer," he
said."If someone wants to give us one, that's fine, but then you've got to have a printer, and of course there's maintenance.Things add up." Whalen
said East Longmeadow is one of the few municipalities that underwrites all of its teams.Many towns allow an outside organization to coordinate the recruitment, registration, uniforms and equipment for their sports teams.This often results in that organization's name appearing on the sports uniforms.
The new guidelines open the door for local businesses to pick up the slack, he
said.At least one business owner has begun mulling the possibilities.
For more information, contact Whalen
© 2002 UNION-NEWS
.Used with permission.
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