Ripon (population of 7,810) is a beautiful small college town in central Wisconsin. The Main Street revitalization program, which was established in 1989, has worked diligently to transform the downtown into a vibrant business district, an effort that has attracted regional and national attention. Budget Travel Magazine recognized Ripon in 2011 as one of the "Coolest Small Towns in America." But the situation changed dramatically in December 2013. A devastating fire ripped through a part of the historic district, destroying two structures, damaging three others, and leaving a gaping hole in our downtown. To make matters worse, Ripon was embroiled in court proceedings stemming from a failed large-scale development project. The months that followed were consumed with investigations and court proceedings which deflated our community spirit. Through all of this adversity, our community didn't give up. Collectively, businesses, property owners and residents worked together to establish exciting events and promotions. Numerous building renovations were undertaken, along with the addition of dozens of new businesses and residential developments which created an exciting vibe in the district. Today, the downtown offers an eclectic mix of architecture, shops and dining in one convenient place. In one short stroll, you'll find kitschy boutiques, fine jewelry, furniture and funky vintage shops, and amazing dining options. Our determination to persevere is what makes Ripon the ideal America's Main Street candidate. Receiving a $25,000 grant is the boost our downtown needs to help us fully recover from the economic hardship we have gone through. The grant would help us expand our current streetscape beautification project. Ripon welcomes the opportunity to work with Independent We Stand and the STIHL Inc.. Together, we can take our remarkable success story to the next level.