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Mistlin softball complex work starting by August
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RIPON – Tony Mistlin’s contribution Tuesday will make possible the completion of the proposed Mistlin Softball Field Complex.

His $3.5 million donation to the City of Ripon came with the caveat of the exclusive and non-assignable right, in connection with his business – Mistlin Honda of Modesto – to advertise and display his vehicles within the softball field addition.

“The advertisement will be well inside the walls,” said Mayor Elden ‘Red’ Nutt, who was responding to the Ripon Chamber of Commerce’s concern about a possible conflict at the City Council meeting.

 Chamber President Marge Imfeld noted that the Almond Blossom Festival has been held annually at the Mistlin Sports Complex, with the queen candidates riding in the parade in vehicles made possible by another dealership. She and the Chamber’s Sam Carhart requested some clarifications on the matter.

However, Assistant City Attorney Stacy Henderson assured the Chamber that the Mistlin advertising will strictly be limited to inside the confines of the proposed softball complex. “We don’t see that as being an issue,” she said.

Construction, on top of that, is scheduled to start sometime next month. From there, work will take about nine to 10 months, according to City Engineer Kevin Werner.

The Almond Festival, in turn, may need to seek another venue at least for next year, Henderson said.

Meanwhile, Tony Mistlin was praised by elected leaders for his generosity to the city.

Councilman Chuck Winn, who worked with Mistlin on various projects over the years, recognized him for “improving the quality of life” with a great deal of humility.

His colleague, Gary Krebbs, added: “We’re very blessed in Ripon to have Mr. Mistlin – future generations will have (this sports complex) to enjoy long after we’re gone.”

Councilman Charlie Gay personally thanked Mistlin. “Words cannot express what you’ve meant to us,” he said.

Werner, meanwhile, mentioned that the initial $4.5 million project went out to bid about a year ago.

Council, last October, approved O.C. Jones and Sons, Inc. as the low bidder for the base bid, consisting of the concession stand ($1.1 million), restrooms ($875,000), maintenance shed ($125,000), synthetic infields ($110,000 per field), all-access playground ($275,000) and the city signage program ($57,500).

But with uncertainty with the Redevelopment Agency back then, the City held off on awarding the bid to O.C. Jones and Sons.

Werner added that the City worked closely with O.C. Jones and Sons to trim down the base bid to $4.1 million, eliminating the perimeter netting on two of the four softball fields, reducing the size of the dugouts, and shortening the outfield distance by doing away with the retaining walls.

Once completed, the complex will be able to accommodate Little League, Babe Ruth, recreation leagues, as well as weekend baseball and softball tournaments, Werner said.

Council members made it official by awarding O.C. Jones and Sons with the initial base bid at $4.5 million along with change order for minus-$423,156, in turn, adjusting the base bid to $4.1 million.

They also approved Tony Mistlin to advertise Mistlin Honda vehicles “within 50 feet of the entrance to the Mistlin Softball Field Complex,” the resolution said.