Jacksonville, FL - For the City of Jacksonville, it’s a push that could bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars.
For local veterans, it’s a potential affront to their honor.
As part of the discussion on funding improvements for EverBank Field, Jacksonville’s Sports and Entertainment Department mentioned they are beginning to pursue sponsors for the other sports complex facilities downtown- the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville and the Veterans Memorial Arena. It’s a story you saw reported first on WOKV, with Sports and Entertainment Director Alan Verlander saying it was a good opportunity to look at a previously untapped revenue stream.
But now, one local veteran is organizing an email campaign against any potential change.
“To see on that [Veterans Memorial] on that building makes me feel like my community really appreciates what I did,” says retired Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Robert Adelhelm.
Adelhelm tells me this is a battle he’s fought before.
“It king of opened up an old wound,” he says.
He says veterans have been told their tribute on the Arena would be around for the life of the venue. While one of the conditions of naming rights could be that the Arena name would still include “Veterans” in some capacity, Adelhelm says that doesn’t go far enough.
“It should be Veterans Arena, period.”
He says some of the other memorials in the city, like the Wall in the parking lot outside of EverBank Field, are nice tributes, but the Veterans Memorial Arena is one of the most noticeable and prominent.
“To do anything to take that away, I just this is despicable,” he says.
The push for naming rights is a discussion that’s really just starting up now in the wake of the EverBank improvements debate. Adelhelm is encouraging anyone opposed to the change to email their city councilman to voice their protest.