What started as a policy aimed at setting naming and dedication guidelines for the Panoway Project has become part of a citywide standard.

The Wayzata City Council approved the adoption of a citywide naming and dedication policy during a regular meeting on Tuesday. The motion for approval passed with council member Cathy Iverson as the sole “Nay” vote.

Staff and council took part in a workshop prior to the council meeting. One of the items on the workshop’s agenda was centered around discussing a draft of the Panoway Naming and Dedication Design Guide. Wayzata Conservancy chair Andrew Mullin led the discussion joined by Samantha Mendiola, project designer for HGA.

Mullin noted offering naming rights to be purchased is part of Wayzata Conservancy’s fundraising plan to offset costs of the Panoway Project. The organization announced a $5 million capital campaign to support the overall project.

Naming Rights Opportunity Areas in Panoway on Wayzata Bay

Naming rights opportunities for Panoway

Phase one of the project was completed last October. The next phase of the project could be completed as early as next year. 

Four types of naming and recognition signage were discussed on the policy: honorific, educational, donor recognition and naming rights. City manager Jeff Dahl noted signage and naming will not necessarily be completely tied to monetary contributions.

“We’re hoping to raise private funds to offset a big portion of phase two costs. That doesn’t mean we won’t want to honor components of phase one and phase two for just community members or families that meant a lot to the community,” Dahl said.

Iverson raised concern about having too much signage through the city. She highlighted the quantity of possible dedication locations as a cause for her concern.

“I ask the council to be cautious of the amount of advertising and placards that we have,” she said. “It potentially could lose its value if there’s so many that it doesn’t seem special. I’m concerned about the potential eye pollution.”

Mullin clarified that what is included in the design guide was an inventory of dedication options and is not reflective of how much they intend to fill.

The policy includes language about the city’s ability to remove the names of donors. The city is not obligated to maintain naming for an indefinite period of time.

Dahl offered an example where the city may choose to remove a name or rename a previously dedicated area.

“If a donor wasn’t as reputable as we thought them to be and we want to take that name away because it’s getting bad publicity we would have the ability to do that,” he said.

City attorney David Schelzel said donors would be made aware in writing of the city’s policy regarding naming.

There have been no public hearings on the policy since it was drafted.

“I wish we would have gotten some public feedback on how people felt about this issue,” Iverson said. “I think it’s a big thing for the city. I think having some community feedback is very important because it’s something it’s something the residents use everyday.”

The naming conversation will come back quickly. Mullin notified the council of the first naming and dedication request being made. A donation of $250,000 will be discussed at the next council meeting on March 16.