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Last July 4th blast at Stouffer?

Renovations may make this last year for fireworks at RHS

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Last July 4th blast at Stouffer?

Thousands gathered on grass areas near Stouffer Field to watch last year’s Fourth of July aerial fireworks show.

GLENN KAHL/Bulletin File Photo

POSTED March 12, 2013 12:36 a.m.

The days of using Stouffer Field to host the Ripon Chamber of Commerce’s Fourth of July fireworks display could soon be winding down.

Renovation to the stadium that’s currently being spearheaded by the Ripon Community Athletic Foundation includes installing an all-weather track.

The recently completed D-shapes inside track – made of a rubberized material for field events – would essentially be covered during the launching of the pyrotechnic aerial display.

“We can cover the ‘Ds’ but when we can’t do the same when the synthetic track comes in,” said Ripon Fire Chief Dennis Bitters, who was joined Mayor Dean Uecker and Ripon Police Chief Ed Ormonde at Monday’s Ripon Unified school board meeting.

Uecker, who attended the session as “a citizen and committee member,” indicated the possible change of venue for future Fourth of July events.

“With all the improvements being made, this might be our last year at Stouffer Field,” he said.

Uecker and his colleague, Elden ‘Red’ Nutt, both serve on the Fireworks Committee, which, for the third straight year, requested waiving the facility-use fee for the day of the event.

Trustees granted that request, calling for the Ripon High stadium along with the nearby Ripon Elementary School grass and black top area.

Plans for this year’s Fourth of July gathering will consist of setting up a stage and multiple booths at the Ripon Elementary black top. The grass area, in turn, would be used for front-row seating to view the fireworks from Stouffer Field.

 “Given the current economic situation of the district, I must recommend that the motion stipulates that the district bill (the city) for the direct costs of custodial personnel for restroom cleaning and other needs,” Superintendent Louise Johnson said in her report.

She also suggested that the board consider bringing in portable restrooms at no cost to the district.

Lighting, in addition, will be provided for safe departure following the event, as specified by the fireworks group.

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