STONE McGUIGAN: Naming Rights Policy, Volunteer Week, Earth Day

By Janet Stone McGuigan, Greenwich Democratic Selectperson

On Friday, April 22, the Selectmen will be asked to vote on a naming policy for the Town.

The BET has asked that a policy be established so that in a Town where so many projects are funded by public-private partnerships, the honor of bestowing someone’s name to a project is done fairly, consistently and transparently. 

I note that, as appreciative as we should be of our Town’s generous benefactors, naming is an honor that should be done with great consideration. 

As a funding strategy it should be pursued with balance.  With time, the costs of projects increase, and holding out for private gifts may mean that the Town’s share of a project’s costs become greater than if it elected to publicly fund the project in its entirety at an earlier date, and thereby allow the Town to enjoy the benefit of the project that much earlier.  

Specifically, the policy as currently proposed does not specify a threshold gift to qualify for naming rights.  The standard practice is generally fifty percent of a project’s costs.  This threshold is a fitting definition of a “substantial” gift. 

Moreover, when it is transparent to potential benefactors what naming rights will cost, it removes the element of negotiation from the gifting process. 

This matter touches all the Town’s residents, please reach out to the Board of Selectmen with any thoughts you may have on this.     On Friday we will also celebrate Earth Day.  Appropriately, members of the Greenwich Sustainability Committee will formally present the Selectmen with its most recent State of Sustainability report.  Guided by Sustainable CT and the Town’s Plan of Conservation and Development, the committee and its community partners support town wide initiatives that foster the protection and restoration of our natural resources. 

It’s often been said that Greenwich runs on volunteer power, and the Sustainability Committee and its network of community partners are excellent examples.  This week we observe, and I’d like to express my appreciation of the incredible number of Town residents who contribute their time and talents to Greenwich, in particular on Friday those whose contributions support sustainability!   

Climate scientists estimate we have a mere 10 years to significantly change our ways before climate change becomes irreversible. 

Embedded in the goals of Sustainable CT is a commitment to equity, not least generational equity.  Our youth deserve to inherit a clean and healthy environment.  We cannot wait ten years to begin our efforts in earnest, we need to begin today.     

Where do we begin?  I direct your attention to the Town website, and ask that you go to the Conservation Commission’s page and click on the button called Conservation Caboodle, where you will find links to the over 30 organizations in Town with sustainability-related missions. 

There is something for everyone and I encourage all of us to go on a nature walk, help with a neighborhood cleanup or support a fundraiser, in the spirit of celebrating Earth Day.   

And I invite you all to come to Town Hall on Friday at 3:30 pm to hear the annual reading of the Earth Day proclamation. 

I hope to see you all there, and may every day be Earth Day!

Janet Stone McGuigan, Greenwich Selectperson