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Sign program expected to bring much-needed revenue to city budget
Pedretti Park
A new sign program will rent advertising space along the fences of Turlock’s Pedretti Sports Complex (KRISTINA HACKER/The Journal).

The City of Turlock is wasting no time in implementing new revenue generating ideas to augment the city’s dwindling coffers. A new sign program at Turlock’s Pedretti Sports Complex approved by the City Council on June 25 could bring in upwards of $167K annually.

Pedretti Park, located off Tegner Road and visible from Highway 99, has four softball fields and one baseball diamond. The new program will rent spaces along the fields’ fences to businesses and organizations for sign displays in one-year terms.

“I applaud you guys for thinking outside the box. I think it’s a perfect opportunity to gain some new revenue out there. That field is completely utilized and it’s been the jewel of our town and you can see it from the freeway. I’m totally excited with this,” said Councilmember Becky Arellano at the June 25 Council meeting.

There are two sizes of signs — 4 feet by 4 feet and 4 feet by 8 feet — and prices range according to the size of the sign and its placement. Advertising prices range from $650 for 4 feet by 4 feet sign located on left or right fields on Fields 2,4 and 5, up to $1,400 for a sign placed at centerfield on Fields 1 and 3.

The potential revenue ranges from $33,424 for only 20 percent of available space used, up to $167,120 for 100 percent of the space used. Space could fill up fast, as Parks, Recreation and Facilities Analyst Juan Vargas said he already has two businesses ready to go and others showing interest. All revenue from the program will go to the upkeep of the fields, taking the burden off the General Fund.

While many privately-owned sports fields have advertising programs, Vargas said that he couldn’t find any other municipalities that managed sign programs on park grounds. He based the pricing structure from what is offered at other area fields such as Rainbow Fields in Riverbank and Field of Dreams in Manteca.

Councilwoman Arellano had some tips for Vargas, as she has been in charge of the same type of advertising program at Turlock’s Julien Little League baseball field off Johnson Road.

The real estate is really crucial in this “advertising game,” said advised.

“It really can be a good money generator. But we need to stay on top of it so they’re not dilapidated and look horrible, that kind of thing,” Arellano continued.

While the Council members present at the June 25 meeting were all supportive of the sign program, there was some concern from a member of the public.

“We have a sign ordinance here in Turlock…a very good sign ordinance. It took about six or seven years to get this passed through the Planning Commission and the Council. There are many restrictions of signs in Turlock; we didn’t want to make our city a Las Vegas or a Stockton, California. So, there’s a reason behind it. We want to make some money, but we don’t want to make our city a dump,” said Turlock resident Milt Trieweiler.

Vargas said the Pedretti program would conform to Turlock’s sign ordinance. As long as the signs all face inward to the fields, they are in compliance with the sign ordinance standards.

There was some discussion of future growth of the program that could include electronic signs or rotating signs. Vargas said any change that has signage facing outward would have to go before the Planning Commission before being implemented.

There are some limitations on what can be advertised on the signs, including banning the promotion of “adult” goods or services, nudity, violence, firearms, alcohol or tobacco products and political information. These are the same limitations the City of Turlock uses for advertisements placed on city buses.

Councilmember Andrew Nosrati questioned the ban on alcohol advertisements and requested that City staff look into the feasibility of allowing the promotion of beer and wine — with a possible premium price put on those ads.

The Council approved the sign program with the current standards and asked City staff to revisit the limitations in six months.

 “Great job Juan and to the entire department. We just got finished with what we did with the budget and this is right after. This is exactly what we need to have our mindset in. I applaud you, the department and all the staff that had their hands in it,” said Councilmember Nicole Larson.