Pay Marin County, get a park named after you

Marin officials approved a new policy Tuesday that allows businesses, organizations, families and individuals to show public government some love and sponsor local parks.

The policy is presented as a win-win situation, where Marin County cashes in and sponsors receive recognition in the form of recognition signs, plaques and advertising advantages.

Linda Dahl, Marin County Parks Director and General Manager, sent a letter to the Marin Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, urging the board to approve the sponsorship policy in order to help pay for construction of a new park, Stafford Lake Bike Park.

Grants and private donors have accounted for only $40,000 of the $850,000 total construction cost.

The new policy outlines very specific guidelines for how a sponsorship will work. Sponsorship is limited to recreational facilities with “well-defined limits,” such as playgrounds, swimming pools, skate parks, baseball fields, etc. They cannot apply to Marin County Open Space District land.

Sponsors will sign a contract agreeing to a fixed time limit, and no sponsorship will last longer than seven years.

Gifts that exceed $10,000 will have to be approved by the Board of Supervisors. A generous pitch (read: $50,000) made by the California chain Mike’s Bikes to fund the Stafford Lake park will surely be one of the first brought to the Board for approval.

Dahl wrote in a report sent to the board:

“Staff anticipates that private sector gifts increasingly will become important to support capital improvements in Marin County parks, as they have in public parks nationwide. We believe that public acknowledgement of gifts can be appropriate if policies are in place guiding public recognition.”