By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
$6M softball complex on deck
Mistlin offers to assist paying for Ripon improvements
A rendering of the improvements proposed for Mistlin Sports Park. - photo by Rendering contributed
RIPON - The development of four softball fields around the Mistlin Sports Park water tower on River and Jack Tone roads in Ripon could cost up to $6 million.

The complex is expected to generate $160,000 a year from tournaments, league play and concessions.

The Ripon City Council will consider advancing the project when they meet tonight at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 259 Wilma Ave.

City Engineer Kevin Werner said that implementing the project now could have benefits to Ripon including low construction costs as a result of the current bidding environment.

The elements of the project are proposed to be split between the city and private donations.  Mistlin Sports Park namesake Tony Mistlin of Mistlin Honda of has offered to contract directly with a separate contractor to construct the landscaping, concession stands, and a maintenance shed. None of those items are part of the city’s proposed project.

Werner said that city staff would work closely with Mistlin and his contractors to ensure that the improvements are compatible with the project plans and with city standards.  

The city engineer added that the source of the funding for the layout of the four softball diamonds would be growth fees on new construction in the Parks Fund although the money is not immediately available.

“In order for the project to proceed at this time it is expected that a loan from the city’s redevelopment agency to the Parks Fund would be required,” Werner said.  “The loan would be repaid through the Public Facility Financing Plan as the development occurs.”

He explained that the transfer of funds would allow the city to move forward with implementing the softball field project now while construction costs are their lowest along with the added benefit of additional revenue to the city from operating the fields.  

The net annual gain to the city by construction of the fields in the center of Mistlin Park is expected to be in excess of $50,000 per year in additional revenues if synthetic infields are installed and $30,000 per year if skin infields are installed, he said.

The city engineer noted that the construction estimate for a skin infield – made of clay and cinder mixture – is similar to what is currently being used at the Ripon Community Center baseball fields on Fourth Street.  The cost estimate is set at $350,000.

A synthetic grass infield is estimated to cost $750,000. It is about $400,000 more than the skin infield alternative.  Maintenance and replacement costs between the two make a difference during the long term.

Synthetic grass requires no field prep prior to games in contrast to the use of the skin infields.  With the skin surface, teams are usually not able to play following a rain storm, that’s not the case with the synthetic grass.

The initial capital cost for the skin infield is $87,500 per field with synthetic grass costing $187,500 per field requiring replacement every 10 years.  The skin infield surface requires replacement on five year intervals.