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Construction nears end, fields could be ready for use in March
Framer Jose Ramos of MF Maher works on the sidewalk along the outfield fence of the still-under-construction softball fields at Mistlin Park in Ripon. City officials believe all construction work could be finished by the end of August and the fields ready for use in March. - photo by HIME ROMERO

RIPON – Construction on the softball fields at the Mistlin Sports Complex is nearing completion.

That’s according to the Deputy City Administrator Kevin Werner, who provided the update at a recent Ripon City Council meeting.

“The project is winding down, so (if we get) any new change orders it should be something small,” he said.

Work on the four softball fields positioned around the already existing signature water tower with bleacher seats, concessions and restrooms as part of the plan began about a year ago, or shortly after O.C. Jones & Sons was awarded the $4.5 million contract.

Elected leaders have shown concerns over the change orders in recent months. Included were the concrete flatwork necessary for the elevation changes and additional drain inlets and modification to the existing foundation for the overhang structure around the tower.

All told, the change orders tallied over $14,000, which were paid out of the Parks Capital Fund.

The Lodi civil engineering firm of Neil O Anderson & Associates was brought on to handle, namely, the foundation excavation for the dugouts, field density testing, and reinforcing steel and concrete observation.

As for time tables, Werner said, based on the contract, work could be completed later next month.

From there, it’s a waiting game.

The grass turf would need several months to get established. If all goes accordingly, Werner believes that the softball fields could be ready for use by March.

Once completed, a new public works employee will be added to help maintain those fields, Werner said during the budget hearings of a few weeks ago.

This hiring would also be significant since the city, since 2009, was forced to trim staffing from 96 employees down to 75 to help balance the budget.

Council is hopeful that Mistlin will help bring outside money into Ripon as visitors make use of the local goods and services during their stay for softball tournaments and other such events.