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Ripon's Watson Street is back open for business

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Watson St. in downtown Ripon reopened Feb. 14, 2014 after being closed for more than two months following a fire. (Photo from: FOX 11).
Watson St. in downtown Ripon reopened Feb. 14, 2014 after being closed for more than two months following a fire. (Photo from: FOX 11).

RIPON, WI (WTAQ) - More than two months since a fire destroyed two buildings and damaged a third in downtown Ripon, Watson Street has finally reopened to the public.

Fire destroyed the buildings at 310 and 312 Watson Street on December 11.

But Friday, work on bracing the two buildings headed for demolishing was finished. That meant the heart of downtown Ripon reopened early Friday afternoon. 

Businesses having to deal with the issues surrounding the closure love their Valentine's Day gift.

“We have seen a decline in business and it has been a couple of months now since the fire was and we are looking forward to getting the street open again,” Ripon Drug co-owner David Gitzel told FOX 11 last week.

Ripon City Administrator Lori Rich says the delays were caused by a much-longer fire investigation by the insurance company for the two buildings. Rich said the owners, Boca Grande Capital, backed out of a deal last week to brace the buildings to get the street reopened. She said the city then decided to do the work and bill Boca Grande for the expenses. The cost for the bracing was estimated at $8,300.

(Additional reporting from FOX 11)

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