Response to its fundraising campaign has been so strong, the committee is looking for new naming opportunities at the future Wellesley Township Recreation Centre.
The list includes the likes of the central score clock in the arena (a $100,000 donation), naming the soccer park ($100,000) and the two soccer fields ($50,000 apiece), and the buggy shed ($25,000).
“We’re getting close to running out of naming opportunities,” ‘Something for Everyone’ campaign chair Chris Martin told Wellesley councillors meeting last week.
Council quickly approved the new options, including plans for a “donor wall” recognizing those who contribute to the $27-million project.
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In response to a question from Coun. Carl Smit, Martin said selling all of the naming options could raise the entire $2.5 million earmarked as the community’s contribution.
As part of the community-building phase of the fundraising campaign, Martin said the group is moving up plans to sell seats in the arena at $100 apiece, along with benches ($200) and drink rails ($500).
“We’ve sort of opened up the public phase, maybe a little bit early – at least some parts of it – just to catch the momentum that’s building with the project,” he said in a later interview.
The campaign got a big boost earlier this month with a $1-million donation for the principal naming opportunity. The project’s main facility will be known as the Bill Gies Recreation Centre.
There have also been preliminary pledges for three of the earlier $100,000 naming options, though the committee is still finalizing the details before releasing the names of the donors.
The response to what the campaign calls the “quiet phase” – seeking out potential major donors – has been strong, said Martin, noting there’s already been a buzz around the wider public fundraising portion as well.
“The campaign is off to a really nice start. There are two phases to the campaign: there’s a quiet phase where we reached out to individuals who have a capacity to give – we meet with them one-on-one, and that’s going very well. Then the next phase is more of a community phase where we engage with the community, celebrate and create ownership. So with the two campaign goals of raising $2.5 million and trying to foster community ownership, the second phase lends itself well to that,” said Martin.
Along with upcoming announcements about major donations, the campaign is also expecting to see more community-led fundraisers through the spring and summer. One community group that has already got a jump on things is the Wellesley and District Lions Club, which is currently collecting items for its online community auction set for next month, with proceeds going to the new recreation project.
Along with an NHL-sized rink, the 62,000-square-foot facility at Queens Bush and Hutchison roads in Wellesley village will include eight dressing rooms (two fully accessible), a dressing room for the Applejacks Junior C hockey team, a youth centre, seniors’ centre, a gymnasium that could serve as a community centre, meeting rooms, fitness rooms, a walking track, a commercial kitchen, a multi-use court, a skate park, active outdoor play centre, two soccer fields and outdoor walking trails.
There’s room on the site for a future second ice pad and outdoor pool, as well.