After Vets Ire, Board Works Out Iowa Center Naming Compromise
The Des Moines marketing brouhaha stemming from Community Choice Credit Union’s winning the naming rights for Veterans Memorial Auditorium and convention center has apparently been settled for the moment with compromise signage following a vote by the Polk County Board of Supervisors.
The board vote on Tuesday follows objections by veterans groups irked over any tampering with the Veterans name on outdoor signage atop the building.
Under the $2.5 million naming agreement between the Johnston, Iowa, credit union, architects and Global Spectrum Co., the developer, the Veterans name will remain untouched on the exterior but emblazoned on the building side will be Veteran’s Memorial Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center.
Interior signage in the convention hall also will provide CU citation.
“I guess the lesson learned from all this is that we should have taken a more active role from the start in ensuring the public understands what the signs would look like and where they would be placed,” said Josh Cook, vice president of operations/business development at the $327 million Community Choice.
Although the president/CEO of Community Choice, Roger Reiser, attended a press briefing last week detailing the marketing agreement, “the credit union message got lost” as architects displayed logos and building renderings with reporters and others thinking the veterans’ name had been dropped from the iconic building and replaced with “Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center,” Cook said.
Mockup signs were missing “and all of a sudden” the CU was facing a firestorm of objections from some commissioners who were hearing in emails and TV interviews about the name change, Cook said.
The Des Moines complex was one of the largest arenas and exhibit halls in the country when it opened in 1955 and is being refurbished for a grand re-opening Jan. 12. The facility was named to honor Polk County World War II veterans.