231-233 Watson St.
231-233 Watson St.

   Owners of downtown Ripon buildings and businesses — as well as Ripon Main Street’s board of directors — are encouraging city leaders to support a local group’s efforts to buy about a dozen properties from Boca Grande Capital LLC.

   A petition was circulated  downtown Tuesday by Bob Mathia, owner of Diedrich Jewelers, and Kim Bahr, co-owner of Watson Street Tea & Treats.  

   The two-paragraph document, created by Mathia and Ripon Drug owner Dave Duehring, makes no mention of liens Rogers Rogers LLC has asked the city to remove from four properties on the east side of Watson Street in order for it to buy them, as well as others on the west side,  homes on Blossom Street and the old Rikkers building at the corner of Jackson and Blackburn streets. 

   The petition reads: 

   “As downtown Ripon property and business owners, we would like to express our support for the Rogers family’s effort to  purchase the Boca properties. In order for  the revitalization process to move forward, it is essential that movement occur to redevelop the long-standing vacant buildings. The Rogers’ support is sincere, local and transparent, with the success of our community and downtown as their priority. 

   “We sincerely appreciate the  risk the Rogers’ are willing to assume in order to move our community forward and respectfully ask that the city of Ripon do whatever  possible to assist with transitioning the properties to new owners and investors. We are excited and look forward to the possibilities that lie ahead  as we all work together to revitalize the heart of our community.” 

   As of Tuesday afternoon, 30 people had signed the petition, said Mathia. 

   He believes the city should embrace the plan being fronted by Tom Rogers of Ripon. 

   “For a person who’s willing to  spend the money that he’s willing to spend, the city should hug him,” Mathia said. “The city should be so happy to have someone go forward with this.”

Read the full story in the Aug. 20, 2015 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.