Hoover seeks public input on name of new facility

HOOVER – Hoover residents were not happy with the name chosen for the city’s under-construction sports and events center, so officials decided to make the public part of the naming process.

The name for the center was unveiled as Alabama Sports and Events Center, “the Bam” for short, at a meeting of the Hoover City Council on Oct. 3.

But public backlash caused leaders to form a Council committee to study the name, including accepting suggestions from residents.

The first meeting of the committee—whose chairman is Council member Casey Middlebrooks and also includes another Council member, Hoover City Schools Board of Education member, residents, high school students and other stakeholders—was Oct. 17 at city hall.

Steve Goris with Sports Facilities Management, which contracted with the city to operate the facility and developed the name, addressed the committee at the meeting.

Goris said “keys” of the naming process are to be memorable, avoid unique spelling, simplicity, sensibility, identify the purpose, check trademarks and domains, leave room for flexibility and ask an acquaintance’s opinion.

“If we hit all eight of those goals, I think we’ll come up with a name we can all be happy with,” Goris said but added that SFM wants to “be good stewards and let you guide us.”

Residents who spoke at the meeting suggested names including MetPlex, Hoover Crossings, Hoover Hub, Hoover Finley Sports and Meeting Center and Hoover Sports and Events District.

Another visitor addressed the colors chosen for the unveiling of the previous name: navy blue and yellow. The resident said he would rather see the color scheme include black, the lighter shade of blue used by Spain Park High School and Hoover High School’s orange.

The committee discussed the effect the name could have on regional or national sponsorships.

A second meeting of the committee is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Oct. 24 at city hall. At the meeting, the committee will review all submissions received from the public and choose the top options.

Then, the options chosen will be part of an open poll on the city’s website.