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Ripon asking Uncle Sam for stadium help

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POSTED January 16, 2013 1:06 a.m.

The Ripon Community Athletic Foundation received much-needed support Tuesday from the Ripon City Council.

RCAF, as a non-profit organization, was able to submit its application seeking funding for the renovation of Stouffer Field among the One Voice 2013 Proposed Projects, but was required an endorsement from its local jurisdiction.

Council complied, voting unanimously to endorse RCAF to go along with its two submitted projects.

Since 2000, the San Joaquin Council of Governments – this is the regional metropolitan planning organization – has sent a delegation made up of government and business officials from the area to meet with elected leaders and administrative staff in Washington, D.C., to discuss specific issues and projects important to region.

The City of Ripon submitted the “Ripon-Manteca Class 1 Regional Bikeway Connection” and the “Surface Water Supply” projects in the last three years.

“During this time, the available funding from the Federal Government has been competitive and Ripon has not been awarded funding for either project,” said City Engineer Kevin Werner at the council meeting.

The bikeway project calls for over 13 miles, connecting Ripon, Manteca, and Lathrop at a funding request of $2.5 million under the proposed One Voice Regional Transportation Project.

The surface water supply calls for construction of a five-mile pipeline that would allow future connection of the City of Ripon water system to the South San Joaquin Irrigation District Nick DeGroot Water Treatment Plant under the proposed One Voice Local Priority Project. Cost is estimated at $3.5 million.

As a non-profit, RCAF is hoping for $1.6 million to finish the stadium. Included would be new bleachers, firewall, asphalt, and the all-weather surface track.

Over the years, the group has raised over $1 million thanks to 560 donors – the major fundraiser is Rina’s Run held each May – while nearly completing Phase 1 of the project. Earlier in the week, the Ripon Unified school board, in the spirit of Measure J, agreed to use one-time money from Fund 35 to RCAF to help make possible the all-weather padding on the two track ‘D’s and take care of some ADA requirements. Of the $250,000, Stephanie Hobbs, president of RCAF, said $100,000 of that will go towards replacing the restrooms in Stouffer Field.

“We’re at a point where we need help outside of Ripon,” Hobbs said.

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