Rohnert Park's new digital sign should be finished by Sept. 1.                                         (Courtesy of Rohnert Park)

Rohnert Park's new digital sign should be finished by Sept. 1. (Courtesy of Rohnert Park)

Rohnert Park's new digital sign should be finished by Sept. 1. (Courtesy of Rohnert Park)

A reader named Frank wrote to ask about a giant concrete foundation thingy at NB Highway 101, south of the Golf Course exit. “Just off the side of the freeway a large, concrete foundation just got completed. I can’t imagine the size of a sign that would need a base this large, considering the location and timing,” he wrote. “Is it for the casino? a new “welcome to RP”‘ sign? or something altogether different?”

The answer comes from Patrick Barnes, deputy chief engineer, and John McArthur, director of Public Works. It’s one of the few big things going up in Rohnert Park these days that has nothing to do with the casino, a new digital advertising sign that should be ready to go by Sept. 1.

The new sign will be 50 feet high, with a screen 28.5 feet wide. That’s roughly twice the size of the current one, which was installed in 2003 and paid for by the Dorothy Spreckels Performing Arts Center endowment. It will be used to promote city events and local businesses, including the Spreckles Center and the Green Music Center, with the city guaranteed to get 10 percent of its air time.

It’s being paid for by Veale Investment Properties, which is led by Kirk Veale, a Sonoma County businessman with broad outdoor advertising  experience. The pricetag? As much as $1 million if city staff estimates are correct.

Veale also gave the city a $50,000 lump sum payment and will rent the sign for $15,000 a month plus a percentage of the advertising proceeds.

About 108,000 northbound vehicles a day drive past that location, with another 98,000 southbound vehicles passing it in on Highway 101.


Send questions to the Road Warrior at Linda.Castrone@pressdemocrat.com.



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  1. cara

    You can bet that one of the “local businesses” on this large, busy, distracting sign will be for the casino or some of the restaurants located at the casino.
    Coincidence that it is a few hundred yards from the casino exit?

    August 14th, 2013 2:49 pm

  2. Ralph

    It isn’t OWNED by the casino but if they become the biggest customer renting it, they might as well own it. To say it has “nothing to do with” the casino seems disingenuous.

    August 14th, 2013 3:06 pm

  3. Scott

    So there’s 300,000 vehicles a month going north that don’t come back?

    August 14th, 2013 3:07 pm

  4. Ken

    Thankfully, I can completely tune those things out much like I do the advertising in my gmail account. I just don’t see it. Wasted money on me.

    August 14th, 2013 3:27 pm

  5. John Hudson

    Why is it that I have a gut feeling that this sign will be used primarily to advertise the casino? Is it for the same reason that I expected the City of Rohnert Park to give the casino access to the sewer 8 years ago? Perhaps it is for the same reason that I expected he City of Rohnert Park to reconfigure the approaches to the casino to improve access. (This happens to be the same reason that I expected the casino to be allowed to use the sewer.)

    August 14th, 2013 3:44 pm

  6. Jack

    Hated the first sign, will hate this one more. An unnecessary distraction which stands out even more here than similar signs do in other areas simply because there is nothing along that stretch even remotely similar in size, brightness or animation. I don’t care if the casino gets on it because I won’t be watching it. I wish other drivers would do the same and ignore it.

    August 14th, 2013 4:05 pm

  7. Ronald El-Assid

    If 108,000 people drive NB every day and 98,000 people drive SB every day, where are the extra 10,000 NB people going? This can’t go on forever because well run out of people. Oh, THAT’s where all the illegal aliens are going.

    August 14th, 2013 4:21 pm

  8. Bill

    So, in Santa Rosa, you have people complaining that a developer’s art is “tacky”. It’s almost like RP said, “You think that’s tacky? Watch this! We have a Hooters, a casino, a GIANT sign, and we’re getting a super WalMart!”

    I can see the new slogan: “Rohnert Park–Delightfully Tacky, Yet Unrefined.”

    August 14th, 2013 4:27 pm

  9. David

    Wanna bet that every elected official in Rohnert Park (including the “anti” casino Jake McKenzie) are at the casino for the grand opening? The tribe and the vegas mob now own the town. Of course the tribe will dominate the sign usage. When you make a deal with the devil you will always lose.

    August 14th, 2013 5:08 pm

  10. ER

    So how long will there be traffic jams until people get used to seeing the new sign? I remember the traffic jams when the old sign was turned on.

    Oh well, we got used to the huge auto dealers sign in Petaluma. For a while, the Press Democrat published pics of the sign superimposed on pictures of various beautiful places around the county with the caption “Could be worse”. Anyone want to do that with this new sign?

    August 14th, 2013 7:55 pm

  11. April

    I find it very interesting that 10,000 more people are traveling north than south each day. Would love to know the story behind that.

    August 15th, 2013 8:38 am

  12. Mario

    The first sign caused a freeway slowdown in the area and this next eysore is going to cause traffic to slow down. The City of RP doesn’t care because the freeway is managed by CHP and the state. Any accidents or traffic jams occurring there, are not their problem. Thanks RP – not.
    My idea – is to use the City of RP streets to get home to SR. Put the wear an tear on those streets since they will be flush with money for the upkeep.

    August 15th, 2013 9:34 am

  13. Greg

    Ugly, brash, tasteless, and criminal to use precious money and energy in this way. RP is and has always been the embarrassment of Sonoma County. Tragic.

    August 15th, 2013 1:59 pm

  14. Volt Guy

    I would love to see a study done of how many accidents and much extra carbon emissions that this sign has created in the past and will create in the future. Traffic always seem to slow by 15-20 mph when it comes in site of this piece of “work” and then immediately pickup again once people drive past it. This thing is a public nuisance.

    August 15th, 2013 2:56 pm

  15. Phil

    I’ll be ignoring the messages that flash on it as well, but architecturally, it’s actually not a bad design. Problem is; it’s completely out of context with its surroundings and what RP really is- shlock! Like hanging a very expensive piece of art in a poster shop.

    August 16th, 2013 6:31 am

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