“Welcome to hell.”

If you pay property taxes in Ripon, those words adorn a little piece of the downtown real estate your city acquired in its Dec. 30, 2015 settlement with Milwaukee-based developer Boca Grande.

How long will you hang on to your little piece of hell?

It depends.

With the city of Ripon’s Joint Review Board approving creation of tax increment finance (TIF) district No. 15 two weeks ago, the city is one step closer toward creating a developer’s incentive for a potential downtown hotel.

But this is hardly a done deal.

It remains to be seen whether the Common Council’s ongoing negotiations with Lighthouse Hospitality Group will result in a pledge of TIF dollars to assist construction of a 60-room hotel in the center of Ripon’s retail district.

And, frankly, it remains to be seen if that deal is consummated ...

But this, too, must be taken into account: the properties are disasters.

They are dilapidated, decrepit, mold-infested, charred-from-fire buildings that are undesirable unless you are homeless or a rodent.

Far as we know, members of the Ripon Common Council haven’t yet toured the properties for which they, and you, are now landlords.

So here’s a peek at real estate that, for better or worse, you own.

— Tim Lyke

To read the entire editorial, see the Sept. 14, 2013 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.

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