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Ripon hustles to move dirt before festival
Todd Quaschnick of the Stockton-based Brockman & Woody Electric Co. uses a flatner to prep the ground for electrical work near the water tower at Mistlin Sports Park. Four new softball fields are being created. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Mistlin Sports Park has been left with a stockpile of excess dirt after the recent construction at the softball fields.

But with the biggest event of the year about a month away – the Almond Festival sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce is held on the last weekend in February – the City of Ripon had been working diligently with Reeves Sand & Gravel to clear the area.

The only problem was that the Stockton-based company wouldn’t have been able to get the job done until June. The area is need of clearing since that part of the park will occupy the carnival rides during the Almond Festival.

Enter Mark Wilbur, president of Central Valley Executive Builders in Modesto.

“(He) has expressed an interest to purchase the stockpile and agreed to have the dirt removed from Mistlin Sports Park prior to the Almond Festival,” said City Engineer Kevin Werner at Tuesday’s Ripon City Council meeting.

But in order to pave the way for Central Valley Executive Builders, council first had to terminate the existing agreement with Reeves Sand & Gravel.

Central Valley Executive Builders agreed to purchase the dirt, as is, at $1.50 per cubic yard. Mistlin Sports Park has about 10,000 cubic yards of dirt piled up. All told, Werner estimated $15,000 of general fund revenue once the five equal payments to the city are completed.

Wilber can begin the first of those payments 30 days after the dirt is removed from the site.

The Almond Festival is the kickoff of the spring festival season, with nearly 35,000 people expected to turn out for the three days of food, rides, and crafts.