By Vince Rembulat

The City of Ripon and Ripon Chamber of Commerce are looking to boost downtown by recruiting new businesses and assisting the current ones.

They’re hoping to do just that with the newly formed Economic Development Program Committee.

“Surrounding cities are actively growing and recruiting – (this program) would like to see Ripon have similar opportunities,” said Debbie Daniels, who is the chairperson for the committee.

She added that the Economic Development Program Committee will be made up of one Chamber representative, one City Council member – Daniel de Graaf got the nod for the spot at the Dec. 12 meeting – one City staff member, and various business owners and community leaders.

At the recent meeting, City Administrator Kevin Werner was also given authority by elected leaders to appoint the staff member.

The group will look to change Ripon’s reputation of not wanting new businesses while charging high fees, according to Daniels.

“The committee would change this image through education,” she said.

Chamber of Commerce CEO Tamra Spade indicated that goal of the Chamber would be to provide additional support to City staff while “working together on common goals.”

Mayor Michael Restuccia favored the idea of the committee.

“It will be nice to have everyone on the same page to educate and get the word out,” he said. “Communication can make things happen.”

Councilman Jake Parks agreed.

“Small towns rely on relationships,” he said.

The committee would meet on the first Wednesday of each month at the Ripon Fire Department, 142 S. Stockton Ave., beginning at 8.