The Asheville Art Museum is seeking approval from Asheville City Council to sell the naming rights of its outdoor plaza in the heart of downtown to the North Carolina State Employees’ Credit Union Foundation.
The tentative deal calls for renaming the public space at the corner of Biltmore and Patton avenues “SECU Plaza.” The SECU Foundation would pay $1.5 million to the museum in exchange for the designation and an accompanying sign. In a letter to Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer, museum director Pamela Myers says the funding is “critical” to completing planned renovations at the site.
As of this July, the museum had raised $15 million towards its goal of $19 million for major renovations and an expansion at the facility, according to museum attorney Lou Bissette. On July 23, Council approved a controversial new leasing arrangement for the museum as well as other tenants located in the Pack Place building.
Council will consider the naming rights proposal at its Oct. 28 meeting.
The SECU Foundation is a charitable branch of the State Employees’ Credit Union, a nonprofit financial cooperative of state workers. In her letter to the city, Myers writes, “SECU has been an active supporter of important community endeavors throughout North Carolina.” She notes that Mission Hospital recently named one of its treatment facilities the “SECU Cancer Center” in exchange for funding.
If approved, the “SECU Plaza” name would apply for the entirety of the museum’s current 30-year lease with the city.
A report from city staff recommends that Council approve the request, noting: “This naming rights opportunity will assist the Art Museum in raising the funds it needs.” The report continues: “SECU Foundation is ‘an organization that has served and positively contributed to the citizens of this state and this community and the approval of naming of city owned property for such an organization is consistent with the past and present naming rights, guidelines and approvals.’”
On Oct. 28 Council will also consider plans to reduce domestic violence and an update on the future of Duke Energy’s local power plant.
Council will also consider new appointments to the city’s Planning & Zoning Commission.
Asheville City Council meets at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28, in room 209 of City Hall. Read the meeting agenda here.