What’s in a name?
Plenty, as Barrie city councillors and Peggy Hill have found out.
On Monday, council gave initial approval to a motion to rename the Holly Community Centre as the Peggy Hill Team Community Centre. The eight-year naming rights agreement is worth $640,000.
Hill told Barrie 360 that when the city asked her if she wanted to have the naming rights for one of the community centres, she just figured everybody was doing it.
“I would do it for Holly because Holly is where my kids grew up and Holly is where I live,” Hill said. “When the city approached me about this, I thought I was helping the community by contributing, and that’s where it all came from.”
Hill is very upfront that renaming is also a marketing opportunity.
“100 per cent,” she said, without hesitation. “But I could have put my dollars anywhere. I didn’t have to put them there. There are lots of places I could spend on marketing.”
The proposed renaming of the community centre, located on Mapleton Avenue in the southwest part of the city, has been met with some opposition. Some people have said the name Holly should remain, and removing it from the building takes away from the history of the area.
Councillors agreed to let the Heritage Barrie committee have a role in the development of an installation at the community centre that reflects the history of the Holly community.
At Monday’s meeting, Coun. Gary Harvey, whose ward includes the Holly Community Centre, admitted he was caught off-guard by some feedback from different parts of the city about the renaming.
He felt allowing an installation at the community centre acknowledging the history of the Holly community “hit the points that seemed to be raised by some of the residents.”
In 2015, council agreed to look into naming rights deals for Barrie facilities and buildings.
“That’s what I want people to realize is that this wasn’t my idea,” said Hill. “I didn’t go to the city and say, ‘Hey, we got anything I could shove my name on?’ Like, that’s not how this came about.”
At the end of the day, Hill said the renaming also comes down to money.
“There is only so much money to go around. What are people supposed to do? Nobody wants their taxes increased.”
Money from the renaming of the Holly Community Centre will go into the city’s annual operating revenues.
City council will consider final approval of the naming rights motion at its meeting on Monday, Jan. 17.