Montclair, NJ – Montclair’s youth have wanted a skate park since 2005. Now, Montclair Planning Board member Martin Schwartz says it could happen if the town is willing to make a deal with a marketing company and having a public-private partnership finance the project.
Think a skate park funded by promotional signage, like billboards or naming rights.
Schwartz, who has a background in corporate communications, reached out to Pennsylvania-based Catalyst Experiential; the company’s on-site promotion signage displays would generate enough revenue to cover design and construction costs for a skate park. Catalyst has helped other towns fund projects including a dog park and an amphitheater.
Montclair would need to designate the land for the new park and agree to having promotional signage. Schwartz says Montclair is reviewing possible skate park locations in Erie Park, Rand and Nishuane Parks; he believe signage could be “tastefully integrated.”
Schwartz says he reached out to fellow Planning Board member and 2nd Ward Town Councilor Robin Schlager and Town Council Economic Development Committee member — 4th Ward Councilor Renee Baskerville and 1st Ward Councilor Sean Spiller — to review his sponsorship concept.
According to Schwartz, similar sponsorship opportunities were originally proposed by a Board of Ed-appointed residents subcommittee years ago. Those recommendations suggested even using advertising on school bus side panels to help generate added revenue that could fund educational and recreational school amenities.
Schwartz says all of those sub-committee recommendations, including enhanced space rentals of existing school facilities – have never been implemented.
“We are leaving hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars on the table from missed foundation, government, corporate and high value donor private solicitations over the years,” he says. “We do have some grant submissions, but they are not systematically undertaken, tracked and lobbied. These all could be greatly enhanced by more collaboration and bundled project initiatives with our many non-profit organizations here, even the Board of Education.”