A section of downtown sidewalk is expected to be made narrower in the near future to accommodate a ramp up to the raised entrance for 300 Watson St.

   That, according to city officials, was the only way to accommodate state statutes as the former Mapes Hotel property is put back into use for the first time in years.

   Even with the ramp, however, the remaining sidewalk will be 6 feet wide at its narrowest point.

   Members of Ripon’s Plan Commission expressed concern about the change, but ultimately approved the request from building owner Tom Rogers since no other option appeared to exist.

   The property is being renovated after years of disuse. The first floor is expected to become meeting and retail space, while the upper floors will be rented out as AirBnB units.

   The problem is that the entrances to 300 Watson Street from street level are well above grade, owing to construction decisions made more than 150 years ago when the building was constructed.

   The steps that exist now to enter the building would make it difficult for someone with mobility concerns to enter. And, as such, the state requires a ramp be installed.

Read the full story in the Sept. 29, 2019 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.