Urban firm to design RP downtown
SF, Sacramento-based AECOM Technical Services has done similar work in Covina, Cordova and Fairfield
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By Jud Snyder   May 24, 2013 12:00 am

For years, Rohnert Park has been dubbed by outsiders as a city without a downtown. It took an abandoned insurance company’s regional headquarters and a much-truncated section of proposed commute trains to change this picture. 

City hall planners took the State Farm acreage and empty buildings, a yet-to-be-built SMART train depot, added in city owned property and buildings like Dept. of Public Safety, RP-Cotati Public Library, vacant veterinary clinic, Burbank affordable apartments and acres of gravelly parking lots (“City Center” it was already named), and called the accumulated acreage Central Rohnert Park Priority Development Area. Or PDA for short. The proposed plan also called for needed environmental documents.

They brought the package to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC – a regional agency) and asked for a planning grant. On June 13, 2012, the MTC provided $448,000 to plan this Central Rohnert Park PDA. This month, the city council approved the selection of a design firm to actually plan a genuine downtown for the city.

Out of eight urban design firms, Marilyn Ponton, building and planning manager, picked five as finalists for the job. Ponton and Eydie Tacata, management analyst, wrote a staff report to the city council explaining their choice. Selected was AECOM Technical Services (AECOM) of San Francisco and Sacramento. 

They’ve had experience in this work with accomplishments in Cordova, Sacramento, Covina and Fairfield. Also participating are W-Trans and BFK Engineers. 

The borders have already been selected: Hinebaugh Creek on the north, Copeland Creek on the south, the SMART rail tracks on the east and the 101 freeway on the west. 

It’s AECOM’s job to come up with a sensible, workable urban design plan. They have until Feb. 15, 2015, to present RP’s City Council with a proposal for the city’s future downtown.

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