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She’s asking Uncle for $1.6M

Hobbs lobbying for federal funds for Ripon High stadium

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POSTED April 17, 2013 2:01 a.m.

Ripon’s Stephanie Hobbs is going to Washington, D.C., Saturday to lobby for $1.6 million funds to complete the $2.8 million renovation of the Ripon High athletic stadium.

Hobbs, president of the Ripon Community Athletic Foundation, has been the staunch leader in an effort to gain citizen support in rebuilding the football field, the track, and field facilities for the city and rural areas totaling 25,000 residents.  Hobbs and her firefighter husband Vince have worked tirelessly on the project to revitalize the 70-year-old stadium.

The community based grass roots campaign has raised over $1 million and the school district has put up $150,000 – but more is needed.

Hobbs is flying out of San Francisco International Airport Saturday morning for the nation’s capitol for meetings beginning Sunday night with a lobbying group that will meet with the San Joaquin County Council of Governments (COG).  Representatives from throughout the county, from Ripon and Manteca to Stockton, will be detailing their “One Voice Priorities” for federal funding

The Ripon leader will describe the purpose for her funding request based on safety, fitness and disabled accessibility issues by replacing old bleachers and bathrooms that serve the entire City of Ripon.

The request also includes a shovel-ready, all-weather track in the stadium that will increase fitness levels and reduce injuries for the high school athletes, students and the general public.

Hobbs reported that the project has over 600 local donors to date with thousands of volunteer hours and over one million dollars worth of installed infrastructure.

The Ripon Community Athletic Foundation (RCAF) was established in 2007 to address the urgent need in the community.  Ripon’s only stadium which serves Ripon High, Ripon Christian High JROTC, Pop Warner teams, Relay for Life and other community groups who rent the stadium that has not been modernized in 40 years. 

Hobbs added that the track has not been a regulation length for meets since the 1980s.  Ripon High’s four soccer teams were homeless since the field was too narrow to accommodate the sport in a school district that represents 25,000 residents in the city and the surrounding county areas.  And the restrooms are not (ADA) Americans with Disabilities Act compliant, she said.

Hobbs will focus on meeting with Congressmen Jeff Denham and Jerry McNerney along with representatives from Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move Foundation.”  She will conclude her meetings on Wednesday and fly home on Thursday.

The Ripon woman was recently recognized by the Ripon Soroptimists for her leadership in the stadium effort and honored with the coveted Ruby Award.  She was given a $500 award with another $500 going toward the stadium project from the women’s group.

Jeff Shields of the South San Joaquin Irrigation District is also going on the COG trip to ask for $3.5 million to support construction of a $5.8 million, five-mile-long pipeline that would connect Ripon’s water distribution system to the South County Irrigation Surface Water Supply Project.  The conjunctive use project would allow Ripon to supplement a portion of the city’s current ground water supply with a surface water supply

Some $2.5 million in federal funds is also being sought for a proposed $4.9 million Ripon-Manteca Regional Bikeway Connection project that would provide a link to the north of Ripon and connect over 13 miles of Class 1 Bikeways between Ripon, Manteca and Stanislaus County.  The funding would be used to purchase rights-of-way to connect the existing Ripon and Manteca bikeways.

City of Manteca representatives are seeking $1.2 million from the federal government in the One Voice trip to Washington next week toward the $2.4 million Austin Road, Highway 99 interchange project.

Manteca will also be asking for $2 million in federal funds to assist in the new McKinley Avenue and Highway 120 interchange estimated to cost some $25 million

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