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Lincoln Civic Center

Sorting out center formalities PDF Print E-mail

I don't know, we have this perfect name that perfectly describes a local county facility. Everybody is happy and then "Wham!" Some stuffy New Yorker tries to throw cold water on the situation.

Earlier this year, in an attempt to upgrade the image of the livestock and multi-use facilities on Beltline Road to coincide with the opening of the county's new RV park next door, a decision was made to change the name of the entire county complex to one a bit more palatable to those with a more discriminating taste. Thus in October, with great fanfare, a new name - Lincoln Center - was unveiled to a crowd of onlookers and dignitaries.

Be it wedding receptions, charitable balls, formal high school dances, horse shows, barrel running competitions, livestock events or just sitting around the RV, one has to admit the name Lincoln Center has a nice ring to it. A formal invitation just has more appeal if it quotes the "Lincoln Center" as the location rather than saying "join us for our celebration at the Multi-Purpose Facility on Beltline Road."

Signs were changed; stationery and business cards printed; The DAILY LEADER took pictures and included them with a story both in print and on our Web site. Everyone was excited, except for a group of New Yorkers who happened upon our story. At last Monday's board meeting, supervisors were presented with a letter suggesting the county was violating the rights of some performing arts center in New York City that uses the same moniker - Lincoln Center. It seems someone in the Big Apple is afraid that our local use of our county name on our center would be an infringement on their trademark at worst, or at least confusing at best, to the performing arts world in general. The New York Lincoln Center attorney demanded that Lincoln County immediately stop using the same name!

Supervisors were perplexed and a few sarcastic comments made.

But cooler heads prevailed and an invitation was suggested for the New York Lincoln Center folks to come down and visit our Lincoln Center folks to work out a solution. There may have been a suggestion that free use of the RV center could be arranged.

The controversy is making headlines across the country via the Associated Press. In New York, a neighborhood online publication picked up our story Friday. And from that Web site another New Yorker commented on his own Web site, "Are people really going to confuse a venue that hosts opera and ballet with one that specializes in livestock shows and high school proms? The Yanks don't care ... Is that really the way to treat the state that reared Eli Manning?"

We were wondering if any other communities are in violation of the Lincoln Center trademark, so we did an Internet search.

Interestingly enough, we found many Lincoln Centers across the county. One in Spokane, Wash., and another in Dallas; however, they use the French spelling - Centre'. Fordham University has the Lincoln Center Bookstore (although it is located near the New York Lincoln Center) and the City of Tallahassee offers the Lincoln Center for social and human services. Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has a Lincoln Center, as does Wayandotte, Mich. In Topeka, Kansas, they have the Lincoln Center for Obstetrics and Gynecology - hmmm, no confusion likely there!

I don't know, I think I see opportunity here. An arts alliance of sorts could be formed with the two Lincoln Centers - one North and one South. After all, Brookhaven's namesake is Brookhaven, New York!

I can visualize one center that excels in the performing arts, the other in the equestrian and bovinean arts.

Think of the T-shirts, the coffee mugs and the ball caps that could be sold, not to mention those little globes with snow inside that you shake.

With consolidation being a popular topic in these tough economic times, we could merge the two Lincoln Center boards into one! It just might be the incentive to turn the tide on the governor's suggestion of moving the Mississippi School of the Arts to Columbus.

Next month our local students from MSA will be performing at Carnegie Hall in New York - a place where they now regularly perform. Here is a bone to throw to the New York Lincoln Center folks: we could change the name of the RV portion of the facility to Carnegie Park!

Carnegie Park at Lincoln Center.

Now that is a name that has some class. It just rolls off the tongue, and looks mighty impressive on a formal invitation.