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Million dollar deal would give TRAC a new name

The Trade, Recreation and Agriculture Center — TRAC — will be renamed The HAPO Center under a million dollar naming rights deal headed to the Franklin County Commission on Tuesday.
The Trade, Recreation and Agriculture Center — TRAC — will be renamed The HAPO Center under a million dollar naming rights deal headed to the Franklin County Commission on Tuesday. Tri-City Herald

Competition among credit unions for Tri-City market share is about to get a little more heated.

The Trade, Recreation and Agriculture Center — TRAC — will be renamed The HAPO Center under a million dollar naming rights deal headed to the Franklin County Commission on Tuesday.

HAPO Community Credit has agreed to pay $1 million, payable in $100,000 annual installments, for exclusive naming rights to the county-owned venue on Burden Boulevard.

The event and meeting center off Road 68 in Pasco is next door to Gesa Stadium, named for the Tri-Cities other main credit union.

HAPO, based in Richland, was the only taker when the county solicited proposals from potential TRAC partners in late 2018.

Exclusive HAPO naming rights

The deal will give HAPO exclusive naming rights to all TRAC facilities, including the parking lot, event space, ice pavilion, buildings and grounds, with the exception of the Franklin County RV Park at the property.

The “TRAC” name that’s hung on the center since it opened in 1995 would essentially disappear.

Under the deal, “The HAPO Center” will replace “TRAC” on all documents and signs inside and outside of the venue, including the lighted freeway sign that fronts Interstate 182.

TRAC sign
HAPO was the only bidder on the naming rights for the Franklin County facility. File Tri-City Herald

The deal gives HAPO the right to prevent its competitors from advertising within the property, as well.

HAPO officials declined on Friday to comment before the deal is approved.

If adopted, the deal will take effect on March 1 and remain in effect through May 31, 2029.

Franklin County first broached the idea of selling naming rights in 2016 as it struggled to improve TRAC’s financial performance.

TRAC
The Home Builders Association of Tri-Cities holds its annual Home and Garden show at the TRAC center in Pasco. Noelle Haro-Gomez Tri-City Herald

The county and city of Pasco have a cost sharing agreement, with each covering half of the losses. As recently as 2015, losses topped $500,000.

One of the most controversial changes was to pave the floor of the dirt rodeo arena on TRAC’s northern side.

Keith Johnson, the county’s administrator, expects TRAC to break even when the final numbers for 2018 are finalized.

TRAC01.jpg
The TRAC name that’s hung on the Pasco center since it opened in 1995 would disappear. Noelle Haro-Gomez Tri-CIty Herald

Credit unions compete

Competition in the Tri-Cities has been heating up over the past year as Spokane-based STCU entered the market and several local credit unions moved to upgrade their branches and appeal to a new customer base.

With nearly $3 billion in assets, STCU is the third largest credit union by assets in the state, after BECU and Washington State Employees.

Richland based Gesa credit union, with $2 billion in assets, is number 5. HAPO has a reported $1.7 billion in assets and is No. 6.

The commission will consider the agreement at its regular weekly meeting — 9 a.m., Tuesday, at the county courthouse, 1016 N. Fourth Ave., Pasco.

Wendy Culverwell writes about local government and politics, focusing on how those decisions affect your life. She also covers key business and economic development changes that shape our community. Her restaurant column and health inspection reports are reader favorites. She’s been a news reporter in Washington and Oregon for 25 years.
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