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City Council refunds $4,000 to garden club
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The check is in the mail.

Mayor Leo Zuber mentioned that to the Ripon Garden Club Tuesday pertaining to a May 2011 donation.

At the time, this non-profit group donated $4,000 to the City of Ripon for the purpose of purchasing trees at the property located at the corner of Stockton and Second streets.

This was the same property that was part of the City’s Redevelopment Agency. Plans called for developing a park and town square.

But the RDA was dissolved that following month – effective October 2011 – by Gov. Jerry Brown to address the state’s ongoing budget deficit.

The $4,000 will now go back to the Garden Club. The Ripon City Council unanimously approved the refund at Tuesday’s session.

“The money will go back to our treasury,” said Michelle Bartels, who, along with Anita Floyd, are co-presidents of the club.

As it turned out, the Garden Club’s next donation to the City can be done independent of this refund.

According to Bartels, the group just talked to a contractor about removing the landscaping on Stockton Avenue in the planters near the historic downtown arch and parking lot.

“The main idea is to do clean up and put in a little vegetation,” she said.

The plan calls for large rocks and pavers rather than the small drought-tolerant bush as in the initial concept. The hope here is to reduce maintenance and water usage in the area, said City Administrator Kevin Werner in a memo.

Bartels is uncertain of cost, but noted that the first estimate was $3,300. Since then, she said the work could possibly be done between $1,500 and $2,000.

“Our main function is to keep the city beautiful,” Bartels added.

Council voted 5-0 to accept the Garden Club donation.