In the middle of downtown Ripon sits an albatross.

   A large, prominent building at the corner of Watson and West Blossom streets remains vacant, and is in disrepair.

   It’s owner? The city of Ripon.

   The former American House assisted living center remains arguably the most visible property in the city of Ripon’s portfolio — a fact that remains despite the city’s best efforts to market the property.

   It’s the last of the properties the city obtained at the conclusion of the lawsuit with former downtown developer Boca Grande Capital LLC. Others, over the last few years, have been sold off, such as the former Mapes Hotel that now is being renovated.

   The American House has not enjoyed the same renaissance.

   Yet it’s not the only such property the city of Ripon has in its portfolio.

   The city of Ripon owns many acres across the city, and some in the town of Ripon.

   Most serve a purpose, however obscure.

   A couple do not, and sit as an anchor on the city, weighing Ripon down by not being taxable land.

   The question is, why does the city own all these parcels?

Read the full story in the Aug. 8, 2019 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.