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Paying Tribute to General Motors

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Paying tribute to General Motors About 15 new GM vehicles are parked at the press conference site. By DAVID SKOLNICK CITY HALL REPORTER YOUNGSTOWN — Officials with the city, convocation center and General Motors Corp. will announce an agreement today to name the facility in honor of the automotive company, according to various sources. Most sources say the new downtown arena will be called the Chevrolet Center, in honor of the Chevrolet Cobalt produced at the Lordstown GM complex, with a few saying it would be a variation of that name. One source said the center's logo would feature the Chevrolet bow-tie trademark. City, center and GM officials declined Wednesday to confirm the deal or the facility's new name because of a confidentiality agreement to wait until today's press conference to disclose that information. GM workers at the automotive company's Lordstown plant were told Wednesday about the naming rights. Tom Mock, Lordstown GM spokesman, confirmed that local company management talked to workers Wednesday about an issue of interest, but he declined to disclose information about the discussions. Also, Jim Graham, president of the United Auto Workers Local 1112 at the facility's assembly complex, declined to discuss the issue. But Mock and Graham said they were to attend this morning's press conference at the convocation center. Press conference The city issued a press release Wednesday inviting city officials, the press and others to the center today for "an important press conference" about the facility. About 15 new GM vehicles, including Cobalts, were parked Wednesday in front of the center, where the press conference was to be held. The vehicles had dealer plates and factory stickers. The financial arrangement for the naming rights couldn't be confirmed Wednesday. The center's management firm had budgeted $1 million to be paid by the sponsor to the center over five years for the facility's naming rights. In late 2004, city and center officials said an announcement on naming rights was imminent, but none came. City and center officials spent months negotiating with various companies about the facility's naming rights. By this past summer, city and center officials were in talks with DaimlerChrysler and KeyBank with GM interested, but not as much as the two other companies, sources say. A program at a recent event at the facility incorrectly stated it would be named after various DaimlerChrysler divisions including Dodge and Jeep. Center officials had tentatively scheduled a press conference about two months ago to announce the naming rights, but canceled it. Sources didn't know what brought GM back to the negotiating table and to eventually outbid the two other companies, but that was the reason the press conference was canceled. In the dark Today's announcement was so hush-hush that city council members weren't given information about it. Councilman Artis Gillam Sr., D-1st, whose ward includes the center, and Councilwoman Carol Rimedio-Righetti, D-4th, said they were asked by city administration officials to show up today at the center for a big announcement. "I think it's definitely about naming rights, but they wouldn't even tell me that," Rimedio-Righetti said. Finance Director David Bozanich, the city's point person on the naming rights, refused Wednesday to even acknowledge that the press conference was about the facility's naming rights. The center opened last month, and the facility's construction cost is estimated at $45.38 million. A final construction cost of the center won't be available until December.

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In response to this, the entire state of California just renamed itself Toyota Planet. Edited by Cadillacfan85

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