City lights up new ad program

'Buy in Rocklin' theme pushed with light pole ads
By: Jon Brines, Placer Herald Correspondent
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Autumn leaves or winter snowflakes on banners attached to street light poles around town may not be something new, but the city of Rocklin is about to change that view in a big way. In the first step in a new campaign to get Rocklin residents to spend their cash in town, the city wants to start reminding people where they can go to buy local. The city’s new Economic Development Manager Eric Harper explained Rocklin residents can make a difference by just spending 10 percent more in Rocklin than places like Roseville. “If Rocklin citizens changed their spending habits to increase local purchasing by only 10 percent, the positive impact to our community would be in excess of $500,000,” Harper said. “The potential for economic and job growth in the city could be significant through a widespread, conscious commitment to buy from Rocklin businesses first.” That means if a Rocklin couple chose to eat out 10 times a month, the city would like them to spend at least one of those at a Rocklin restaurant, Harper explained. Starting in August, the city hopes to roll out a banner program inviting Rocklin businesses to advertise on the city’s various light poles from Rocklin Road and Sunset to Lone Tree Boulevard in the west. The top of the banner would feature the business logo, while the bottom portion would have the Rocklin theme, such as “Shop Rocklin,” “Dine Rocklin” or just “Live Rocklin.” City of Rocklin Small Business Development Coordinator Leslie Woodman said the city would charge a fee and the contractor making the banner would install them on street lights. The business owner would be required to pay for the production of the banner. “The banners themselves would be about $130 with additional fees for the bracket, installation and removal,” Woodman said. “Hopefully, we can keep it down to less than $200 for a month on the pole.” City Manager Rick Horst said any revenue generated from the banner fee would be placed in a marketing account to help the city promote itself. “The money will come in very slowly,” Horst said. “We will use the money to market the city whether it is through print, radio or whatever that may be at a future date.” The Rocklin Area Chamber of Commerce supports the program. “I’m ready to write out the first check,” Chamber Board member and RC Wiley General Manager Tammy Cooper said. “We believe it is an alternative and very affordable signage program for our businesses. It provides a guidepost into Rocklin and defines our city’s boundaries.” Right now, the staff is working out details with PG&E to allow placement of the banners. Another concern is how the city would regulate how the businesses advertise, especially if they are deemed inappropriate for streetlight advertising. City Attorney Russell Hildebrand said he’s developing guidelines. “You have much more control or power to regulate commercial speech,” Hildebrand told the council at their June 14 meeting. “We want to think about this and balance those cross purposes of providing those opportunities, but at the same time we don’t want to open the door and have no control of what goes up. That’s the main concern I have with navigating our way through.” Council member Diana Ruslin was concerned that non-profit organizations might be excluded from promoting their events like Little League baseball season. Council member Brett Storey said the city should try to avoid potential litigation. “There are appropriate ways for non-profits to get their (message) out,” Storey said. “But we have to remain in control or we tread on territory that opens us up to issues and potential lawsuits.” The finalized banner program is expected to reviewed by the city council next month. If approved, banners could go up by mid August.