Watson St. in Ripon reopens for business

RIPON – On Valentine’s Day people in Ripon are “loving” that their “Main Street” is back open.

The 300 block of Watson Street has been closed since a December fire destroyed two buildings.

Friday, work to brace the two buildings slated to be demolished was completed. The road opened early in the afternoon.

It’s a welcome sight for businesses after two long months of frustration.

“We have seen a decline in business and it has been a couple of months now since the fire was and we are looking forward to getting the street open again,” Ripon Drug co-owner David Gitzel told FOX 11 last week.

City Administrator Lori Rich said the delays were caused by a longer than expected fire investigation by the insurance company for the two buildings. Rich said the owner of the buildings, Boca Grande Capital, backed out of a deal last week to brace the buildings to get the street reopened. She said the city then decided to do the work and bill Boca Grande for the expenses. The cost for the bracing was estimated at $8,300.

Representatives of the company have not returned calls for comment and Rich said she does not know what the time frame is for the company to demolish the buildings.

Drake told FOX 11 once the street was reopened, the demolition would be up to Boca Grande Capital.