What appeared to be a three-horse race for nearly a half-million dollars from the estate of Lloyd and Grace Mitchell a week ago now is back to being two-horse race.

   But not because one of the concepts has dropped out.

   One of the proposals — a new senior center that could double as a community center — has joined forces with a second proposal: to build a cultural center at the northeast corner of Blossom and Ransom streets.

   A third, which in recent meetings seemed to have the most support from the Ripon Common Council — which will decide to whom to award the gift — remains viable on its own. That option is a new pavilion at the ball diamonds at Murray Park.

   Meanwhile, following a series of meetings between Ripon Senior Activity Center director Noreen Johnson and cultural center proponent Aaron Olson, Johnson announced the two projects have merged.

   “Over the past eight months, the Ripon Senior Activity Center (RSAC) has sought financial support to build and run a new community outreach hub that would serve all segments of the population of Ripon. This is still our goal,” Johnson wrote in her formal announcement, noting her organization will be working with Olson’s group going forward as they vie for the Mitchell estate dollars. “This cultural center incorporates naming rights, historic preservation, and philanthropic endeavors as valued by the donors. Their design includes ample space for both a senior activity center and a community center.”

Read the full story, including how this affects the now joint effort, in the Sept. 5, 2019 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.