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‘Color the Skies’ launching again in Ripon

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POSTED April 27, 2009 12:40 a.m.
RIPON – Jessica Coleman is once again hoping to “Color the Skies” over Ripon this Labor Day weekend.

But she’ll need the help of the Ripon City Council in order to do it.

For the fourth straight year Coleman is planning on making the Mistlin Sports Park the place to be for local families searching for a community function where all of the proceeds from the event go to help support the Children’s Hospital of Central California – shooting for September 5-6 to carry on what has become a regional draw in the several years since its inception.

The Ripon City Council is considering her proposal to ink a multi-year agreement that will give the non-profit she organized exclusive use of the park for the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday prior to Labor Day.

“We believe that this type of arrangement would be positive for many reasons – one of which would be economic,” Coleman wrote in a letter that was included in the packets distributed to each council member. “It would ensure continuity for the public as well as business owners, ease planning efforts within various city departments and Color the Skies, and having the agreement to use the entire park would eliminate the problems that we’ve seen in the past with soccer and baseball competitions being scheduled during the same hours as the festival.”
For the past several years the City Council has granted Color the Skies not only the use of the facility but waived the fees typically charged to those wishing to rent out space in what has become the crown jewel of Ripon’s recreational system.

That was also before the group requested exclusive rights to the park that has helped provide a much-needed boost to Ripon’s tax base by attracting out-of-town sports teams that enjoy the top-notch facilities and the central location that the Mistlin Sports Park provides.

According to the City of Ripon’s website, the fees typically charged to local organizations that want to use the fields start with a $100 deposit and a $125 fee per field for preparation and set-up. The hourly rental rate for approved groups is $20 an hour for each field used – a separate charge from the $1,300 needed to rent the amphitheater (including a deposit).

A separate fee structure for the two baseball diamonds is also in place.

Recreation Director Kye Stevens gives regular updates to the council during regularly scheduled meetings about the upcoming events and the popularity of the sports park as a whole which routinely draws in people from out of town that come to spend the weekend – often times staying overnight at places like the La Quinta Inn and Suites that was built with that crowd in mind.
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