It’s not like gaining the naming rights to a stadium or having one’s identity linked to some major event, but a new program in Mount Airy is allowing individuals, groups and businesses to receive lasting recognition.
City parks and recreation officials have announced the Reeves Community Center Foundation Gift Program, in which facilities such as picnic shelters, benches, tables and even sand volleyball courts can be named in honor or memory of people and organizations.
The program also includes the opportunity to accomplish that through the planting of a commemorative tree.
Along with designating facilities for friends and relatives or important groups in one’s life, the program provides sponsorship opportunities for local businesses, clubs or other entities.
In announcing the new initiative, Mount Airy Parks and Recreation Director Darren Lewis explained that it is a way to help provide needed facilities for public spaces to be enjoyed by the entire community, while also honoring deserving parties.
Lewis said Mount Airy is borrowing a page from recreational agencies in other areas.
“There are some departments across the state that already have gift catalog programs like this and it has worked well in other communities,” he said.
“I think it’s going to be something good for our community.”
The program already has its inaugural honoree, Pete Lydens, who was Mount Airy’s first city manager.
Lydens’ wife Linda bought a bench recognizing him which is located in front of new restroom facilities on the Emily Taylor Greenway behind the Roses shopping center.
“We are excited to partner with them on this project,” Lewis added regarding the gift program’s first honoree. “Pete and Linda are great supporters of parks and recreation in our community.”
Benches that are 6 feet wide and made of rubber-coated metal with black trim can be bought for $550, with the price of 8-foot tables $1,000.
Moving up the charts, laminated wood picnic shelters can be bought as a sponsorship, memorial or donation gesture, with one accommodating 25 persons available for $14,000 and a larger variety for 50 people, $19,000.
The price for providing a sand beach volleyball court is $45,000, which includes construction, drainage, sand and accessories such as the net system and boundary lines.
A commemorative tree planting, for which no standard cost is listed, can be commissioned according to the most-appropriate species for approved sites, which also can be incorporated into projects now under way. Prices vary according to sizes and types of trees, which will be planted in November and maintained by city grounds and maintenance personnel.
Plaques containing approved wording are to be placed with each shelter, tree, table and bench for the life of the products purchased.
The Reeves Community Center Foundation’s involvement with the new gift program mirrors its fundraising role in support of various city recreational efforts. These include awarding scholarships to children and disabled adults to assist with membership and activity fees.
Forms for participating in the gift program or more information can be obtained from the parks and recreation director at [email protected] or by calling the community center at (336) 786-8313.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.