The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

May 2, 2013

Economic driver v. community need

(Continued)

"To go out and purchase another 100 acres or so of park land is a huge expense," said Tim Schwartz. "It seems to me to make sense to utilize the space that we have."

The next step is a needs assessment of the current facilities to evaluate the efficiency of scheduling practices, games and tournaments, Crawford said, "to see if there are any abilities to increase the efficiencies of how the facilities are used."

For example, the current soccer fields are over-used and don't get a chance to recover between games and seasons, participants said.

Ottumwa Area Convention and Visitors Bureau director Mark Eckman noted that not every location in town is equal.

"Sites like those close to the airport wouldn't yield as many overnights or commerce to the community," Eckman said. "We wouldn't capture the Hotel/Motel Tax or LOST [Local Option Sales Tax] as would a site closer to the city. The other thing is this is not 'You build it, they will come.' If you build it right, they will come — and more importantly — stay."

One of the most dynamic parts of Ottumwa, Crawford said, is its urban camping.

"There are very few communities where you can camp and then walk a few minutes and be in downtown," he said. "You have a very strong asset in some of your natural resources. With just improvements to access to those natural resources, they could become a very strong component of the system."

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