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Farmers market on fast track for Ripon?
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RIPON – Getting farm-fresh produce right in the heart of town might be a reality for Ripon residents sooner than anyone expected.

When discussing the possibility of bringing a farmer’s market back to the community that would serve as a community gathering that will bring foot traffic into the town’s historic downtown, several members of the Ripon City Council Tuesday favored pushing ahead with a test season to gauge how well the community would respond.

The subject was being investigated by the Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors as a possibility, and was placed on the council agenda by Mayor Chuck Winn as a way to bring the matter to the forefront of the community discussion – garnering no dissent among those who serve on the five-member panel.

While the logistics remain as something that would need to be ironed out on multiple fronts, seeing an increase in foot traffic and bringing people downtown seemed to be the motivating factor for many.

“I’d like to see an influx of people coming downtown in our city and seeing what we have to offer,” Vice Mayor Red Nutt – who also serves as the president of the Chamber’s Board of Directors – said. “From what I see, a lot of opportunities exist to bring people down there with something like this, and that’s what we need to be looking at.”

Local businessman John Mangelos – who owns not only a business in Ripon’s downtown district but several commercial buildings in the area as well – urged the council to act quickly in assembling what would amount to a trial run before the ability to find farmers and vendors willing to participate dries up.

“We need events like this intended to bring people downtown now – we don’t need them next year, we need them now,” Mangelos said. “To sit there and dissect it and discuss it – you lose the enthusiasm of the community. If you do it fast you’re going to make a few mistakes and all of the I’s aren’t going to be dotted and the T’s won’t be crossed.

“But you’ll be doing something that’s great for downtown. It may not be the perfect plan, but it will be a plan where you’ll be able to test ideas and see whether they’ll work as you build a stronger event.”

The matter will be investigated further by a council committee before it is brought back for formal consideration. Assistance from the Chamber of Commerce and their Board of Directors is also expected in the investigation process.