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Council OKs $5 parking charge for Mistlin Park for Almond Blossom Festival
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RIPON – The Almond Blossom Festival is the biggest event of the year.

Nearly 35,000 people attend the three-day event in Ripon during late February for food, rides, crafts, and more.

Since moving from downtown to Mistlin Sports Park about three years ago, traffic has been a major problem, particularly along Jack Tone, North Ripon and River roads, with motorists vying to get to the on-site parking area.

With the need to bring in professional service, the Ripon City Council Tuesday gave their OK on the proposal from the Ripon Chamber of Commerce to charge $5 per vehicle to park at Mistlin during the upcoming Almond Blossom Festival.

The approval came with the caveat that Dorothy Booth, who is Chamber’s executive director, meet with Councilman Chuck Winn to check out more options on parking services.

Booth said students from Ripon High’s Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps were recruited last year to help remedy the traffic woes.

But their presence only created more problems, with motorists, for the most part, failing to yield to the JROTC students. Ripon police were called in, pulling officers off their beat in order to take control of the traffic mess.

She doesn’t want history to repeat itself.

Chamber had been looking at other options, including bringing in a professional – service of Ace Parking Management, Inc. was mentioned – to take care of the parking situation.

“This way it won’t cost the City extra money,” Booth said.

The fee will cover cost for the service to be determined and, perhaps, generate some additional revenue for the Chamber.

“This is the same fee that was charged to parking for Color the Skies and people who worked on the parking at that event said people who parked at the event did not view it as burdensome,” Booth said in her recent letter to Council.

Council voted 3-0. Mayor Elden “Red” Nutt and Dean Uecker, who are both on the Chamber board, abstained.