The Ottumwa Courier

December 5, 2012

County moves forward on tower

CINDY TOOPES
Courier Staff Writer

OTTUMWA — The contract has been signed and approved, and the Wapello County Board of Supervisors want to proceed quickly with pouring the footings for the radio communications tower.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the supervisors said the footings need poured before the ground freezes. The tower’s proposed location is at the Fourth Street hill, the former location of Washington Junior High School.

“We’re hoping the crew will start right away with the footings, then they can put up the tower in cold weather,” said Supervisor Steve Siegel. “But, we’ve got to pour the footings before the ground gets hard. That will be the priority.”

The county has purchased the ground and now the contract is signed.

Work is estimated to take four-to-six weeks and the anticipated cost will be just under $300,000, the supervisors said.

In July 2012, the communication tower was ready, but then-Wapello County Sheriff Don Kirkendall and Wapello County Emergency Management Coordinator Josh Stevens advised the board that the federal government was going to switch to using narrow-band radio.

The supervisors and other county leaders had worked for weeks on finding a new place for the communications tower. They found a place and needed someone to handle the details.

The tower had been on top of the former St. Joseph Hospital for years, but Ottumwa Regional Health Center has plans to raze the building in the near future.

 

Tourism efforts

The supervisors on Tuesday approved matching funds for the Ottumwa Area Convention and Visitors Bureau’s website.

OACVP Director Mark Eckman had previously discussed matching funds for Central Iowa Tourism Region (CITR) grants to support the website.

Supervisor Jerry Parker said Eckman would step in to oversee the grant for CITR funds and the board would contribute a $425 cash match.

“This will make the site more efficient,” Parker said.

The website is located at: www.exploreottumwa.com, and “Bravo Wapello County” is the new electronic newsletter.

Parker asked Eckman if the site could be searched for jobs.

Eckman said people organizing events could submit the information online and subscribe to the electronic newsletter.

“We’ll be ahead of our neighbors,  and this will allow us to keep pace with the website,” he added.

After the meeting, Eckman said CVB was the applicant for the project, which will add three new functions.

The first one will add a search function to the website, and users will be able to search for events by date.

“Then, if they know they’re coming to Ottumwa for the Pro Balloon Races, for example, they can search the site for events by date,” Eckman said.

The second function would allow event organizers in the county to post information about the Pro Balloon Races, Oktoberfest and many others. There will be a submission form online and fields such as name, description and other required information.

Eckman said the third function is one for the user to subscribe to the new electronic newsletter, “Bravo Wapello County.”

“It’s a biweekly newsletter to let subscribers know what’s going on,” he added.