Nassau County is looking to sell the naming rights to the Aquatic Center in Eisenhower Park and to facilities at Cantiague Park in Hicksville, as it searches for new revenues to stave off service cuts.
The county last week issued a request for proposals for bidders interested in the naming rights for the 80,000-square-foot pool building at Eisenhower and the ice rink, baseball fields and batting cages at Cantiague.
Officials in the administration of Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said the sponsorships could provide revenue to help fund the county’s ailing bus service.
NICE Bus has proposed eliminating 10 routes next month to offset a $6.8 million budget deficit, created when the county reduced its subsidies to the system. A tentative state rescue package could avert many of the worst cuts.
“This administration is focused on alternative means to [raising] property taxes and this initiative has the potential to generate funding for operations, such as NICE Bus, without burdening homeowners with such expense,” said Brian Nevin, spokesman for County Executive Edward Mangano.
Nevin declined to say how much revenue the naming rights could generate.
The Aquatic Center, built in 1998 for the International Goodwill Games, seats 1,700 and is used by dozens of youth organizations and swimming clubs.
Cantiague’s ice rink, which served as the practice facility for the New York Islanders from 1979 to 1992, recently underwent a $600,000 renovation.
Winning bidders would have “the exclusive right to place its name on the existing external signage,” and promotional material, such as brochures, the RFP said.
The sale of naming rights requires approval of the GOP-controlled county legislature but not the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, a state oversight board in control of the county’s finances.
Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow) declined to comment.
But Legis. Arnold Drucker (D-Plainview) called the RFP “a one shot revenue grab that will serve as only a Band-Aid to the county’s chronic fiscal crisis.”
NIFA Chairman Adam Barsky said the sale will not “cure the systemic financial issues facing the county, but we are glad they are pursuing options like this.”
Bruce Piel, chairman of the Park Advocacy & Recreation Council of Nassau, a coalition of advocacy groups that works to protect county parkland, said the RFP sends the wrong message to residents.
“We did not create parks to make a profit but the county keeps trying to squeeze every dollar out them,” Piel said.
Naming rights bids for the Eisenhower and Cantiague facilities are due May 5, and awards are expected two weeks later. The contract term is three years with an optional two-year renewal.
Nassau would consider selling the naming rights to additional facilities if this “initiative is successful,” Nevin said.
In 2012 Nassau signed an agreement allowing construction of a 165,000-square-foot ice rink in Eisenhower Park. But the facility, expected to cost $15 million, saw construction costs escalate to $52 million and the owners declared bankruptcy after 14 months.
In 2015, then Islanders owner Charles Wang bought the building for $8 million to use as the team’s practice facility. The county later sold the building’s naming rights to Northwell Health for $333,000 over three years.