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Ripon may use Mistlin icon for food service
Rotary Tower DSC 4905a
Some 30 members and guests of the Ripon Rotary Club held their weekly luncheon meeting on the second floor of the Mistlin Sports Park water tower on Wednesday. Past president Danielle Pierce is pictured near the railing leading the meeting. - photo by GLENN KAHL

RIPON — The Mistlin Sports Park water tower was the site of this week’s Ripon Rotary Club’s noon meeting.

There were some 30 members and guests who climbed the stadium-styled stairs in lieu of the elevator to reach the second floor where the Barnwood Restaurant catered the event with preordered box lunches.

Ripon Public Works Director Ted Johnston spoke about the construction of the 2.5 million gallon water tower. He told of the uses of the four floors and their outside balconies – one of which was used for the lunch on Wednesday.

Johnston noted that the planned softball project, that will include four diamonds circling the tower, has been sent out to bid for a second time.  If those bids come in at an affordable level, the project is expected to get a go-ahead and will be funded by the generosity of Riponite Tony Mistlin after whom the sports park has been named.

Owner of the Modesto Honda dealership of the same name, Mistlin has continued to support the Ripon community in buying land to expand the facility and paying for the construction of waterfall features within the city.  Mistlin also provided an original statue of Willie Mays that is mounted near the entrance to the baseball fields.  There is also a large Coke bottle feature similar to the one in AT&T Park that was also made possible by Mistlin.

Fans watching the softball games in the future may be able to eat snacks and lunches at tables on the walkways around the tower when the bats get cracking with the swings of athletes from around the north state.

Johnston led a tour for the Rotarians up to the third and fourth floors explaining the functions of the tower that was built for about $1.5 million, noting its value to the community with its 2.5 million gallons of water supply should there be an electrical outage that would affect the pumps in the city.  He further noted that the sister tower located at the Jack Tone off ramp of southbound Highway 99 has a capacity of 1.5 million gallons of water.

He pointed out steel ladders mounted against the inside of the tank that lead to the top of the 179-foot tower.  He said he climbed those rungs just one time when the tower was first built to inspect the facility, adding that once was enough.

The question of using the steps at the side wall of the tower was silenced when 90-year-old Rotarian and retired Police Chief Harvey Douma proved it wasn’t too much for him. He arrived on the second floor to the applause of his fellow Rotarians.