Downtown lighting

Ripon Main Street, Inc. is fundraising to install overhead lights above the 200 and 300 blocks of Watson Street in the historic downtown district.


After initial hopes to have it complete for Ripon College’s Alumni Weekend and Scoop the Loop, plans for a festive lighting system above Watson Street are moving ahead.

Ripon Main Street Inc. Executive Director Craig Tebon said the project was delayed due to a severe weather event that ripped through the city in late July.

He hopes the project can be completed before the holiday shopping season.


In May, the Ripon Common Council unanimously approved a request from Ripon Main Street to add more festive lighting on the 200 and 300 blocks of Watson Street.

During the meeting, Tebon explained that the lights wouldn’t cost the city anything and would be installed and maintained by Ripon Main Street.

He got the idea to add festive lighting between buildings downtown in addition to facade lighting already on buildings after a visit to downtown Wausau.

Tebon said the lights would be approximately 24 feet above the street, which would put them above any second-story windows and high enough to avoid issues with vehicles.

The lights would be on buildings year-round, with different time spans for illuminating the lights depending on the time of year. Tebon said the goal would be to keep them on from about 4 to 11 p.m. during the winter and from 7 to 11 p.m. in the summer.


The severe weather event has delayed the festive lighting project.

While downtown Ripon overall wasn’t impacted architecturally, the storm made it more challenging to get contractors as other needs in the city took precedence over lighting, Tebon explained.

“When somebody has a roof or some other repair that needs to take place, that takes precedence over putting up some decorative lights,” he said. “I’m certainly not going to fault the contractor for taking care of more urgent needs.”

Ripon Main Street has purchased everything for the lights, including brackets and the lights themselves, Tebon noted.

He said the festive lighting is another piece in the continual enhancement of downtown Ripon.

Over the last five years, Ripon Main Street and downtown stakeholders have held planning sessions, which have found a need for visual enhancement downtown, Tebon noted.

What’s next?

Ripon Main Street continues to take donations for the project, which aim to help the organization recoup its investment in the festive lights, Tebon noted.

He said the project has received just over $6,000, or about 40% of its goal.

“Whether it’s the cost of the bulbs, the brackets or to attach the strands of lights, every little bit helps,” Tebon said.

Donations may be made directly to Ripon Main Street or by searching for “Downtown Ripon Festive Lighting Project” on

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If you’re wondering about something that was in the news but doesn’t have a resolution, send your idea to:


Phone: 920-748-3017

Mail: 303 Watson St., PO Box 262, Ripon, WI 54971

Written By

Joe Schulz served as the reporter of the Green Laker in 2019 and 2020, before being hired as a reporter for the Commonwealth in October 2020. He is from Oshkosh and graduated from UW-Oshkosh in December with a bachelor's degree in journalism.


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