RIPON MAIN STREET glows in the early evening. Downtown has seen much success recently, argue Tom Moniz and Errin Welty. 							 submitted photo
RIPON MAIN STREET glows in the early evening. Downtown has seen much success recently, argue Tom Moniz and Errin Welty. submitted photo

by Tom Moniz and Errin Welty

     It is hard to miss the progress taking place on Watson Street.

     And while the burst of new development and specialty shops on the 200 block of Watson has garnered well-deserved attention, it’s important to remember that this dramatic transformation of downtown did not occur overnight or in a vacuum.

     It has been the handiwork of many dedicated individuals and organizations committed to incremental change in downtown Ripon for the past 30 years.

     In 1988, Ripon became the first of five charter members of then Gov. Tommy Thompson’s Main Street Program, a statewide effort to drive revitalization and economic growth to Wisconsin’s rural downtowns.

     In the original application submitted to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC), the Ripon community identified a generally blighted and run-down appearance, poor business mix and lack of coordinated marketing efforts as major factors limiting downtown success.

     Over the intervening years, Ripon Main Street, in partnership with city administration and so many dedicated individuals and organizations, has successfully addressed these shortcomings and created an economic environment where local businesses thrive. ...

     Tom Moniz is a shareholder attorney with local law firm von Briesen & Roper, s.c. and president of the board of directors for Ripon Main Street, Inc.

     Errin Welty is Downtown Development Account Manager for WEDC.

     To read the entire column, see the Aug. 2. 2018 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.