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RDA ruling critical to Ripon Park project
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RIPON — Whether Ripon goes forward with the Mistlin Park softball complex all depends upon a pending California Supreme Court ruling on the status of redevelopment agencies.

That is why the Ripon City Council Tuesday night delayed awarding bids for construction of  the Mistlin Softball Field Sports Complex until February of 2012.

 The first reading of an ordinance amending the Ripon Municipal Code shadowed the sports complex action with city fathers suspending the Below Market Rate Housing Program that benefited low-income families – a suspension for a period of three years. 

The program will be put on hold for an additional three years unless the city council enacts an ordinance directing otherwise after the initial time limit expires. That program is also funded by the Ripon RDA.

Planning Director Ken Zuidevaart said the action only involves the future below-market home construction and not any that are in progress at the present time.

The softball complex contractor, O.C. Jones & Sons, has agreed to guarantee his bid structure until the state Supreme Court session is reviewed by the council in February.

Three construction bids had been reviewed early in July for the Mistlin Sports Park Complex, and based on staff reviews, O.C. Jones & Sons, Inc. was considered the lowest, responsive and responsible contractor.

The bid on the complex construction included the grading, concrete, electrical, landscape, irrigation and underground for the proposed four softball fields.  “Skin” infields for all four of the fields were included in the landscaping component.  Skin infields include a mixture of clay and cinder similar to what is already installed at the Ripon Community Center fields on Fourth Street.

Bid alternatives include a concession stand, restrooms, a maintenance shed, synthetic infields, all-access playground and a city signage program.

A proposed #3.3 million redevelopment loan to the city would take care of the major part of the construction cost, with community benefactor Tony Mistlin agreeing to provide another $2 million, bringing the total funding for the complex to $5.3 million.

The State of California has passed a pair of bills that would jeopardize the city’s $3.3 million in funding, according to city engineer Kevin Werner.  After the Supreme Court’s ruling that is expected in mid-January, the city would then learn whether the $3.3 million in city funding in the $5 million project would be available for the formal awarding of the bids and the subsequent construction, Werner noted.

Acacia alley work is moving forward

In other action, improvements on an Acacia alley in conjunction with a Redevelopment Agency house that is under construction at 232 Acacia Avenue were approved Tuesday night through a change order in the construction set at $109,545. 

A paver alley has been recommended due to the poor existing condition of the access way between Acacia Avenue and Elm Avenue adjacent to the property that will have a gutter added to eliminate the current drainage problems, create drive entrances and lower the existing water services.

The funding was provided through two sources: The city Housing Fund portion of the alley not adjacent to the house for $69,171 and the Redevelopment Agency portion for $40,374.

In yet another action the city council approved a short-term agricultural lease agreement with Travaille and Phippen Farms to lease city-owned property located between Mistlin Sports Park and Jack Tone Road, east of Jack Tone Road.  The property is less than 10 acres in size and is being leased to the tenant for $300 per acre.