OTTUMWA — A lot of effort has recently been put toward beautifying downtown Ottumwa and making efficient use out of the old buildings there. Some of that hard work has been recognized by the 1,000 Friends of Iowa organization, which recently named Appanoose Rapids Microbrewery and Loft Apartments a winner of one of their 2013 Best Development Awards.
Appanoose Rapids was chosen as the recipient of the award in the Leadership category, and according to 1,000 Friends of Iowa board member Doug Adamson, the jury that selected the winners had a pretty easy time selecting the brewery.
“The jury praised the project for the efficient use of funding and investment dollars while utilizing green building practices, including the reuse of an existing structure,” Adamson said. “The jury felt this mixed-use project was a pioneering catalyst for a downtown in need of a spark, making it a clear standout for the Leadership award.”
Adamson went on to say that the jury’s only regret was not choosing Appanoose Rapids as the venue for this year’s award jury meeting.
“[The jurors] have already volunteered for next year’s awards review … but only if it’s held at Appanoose Rapids Brewery,” he said.
Owners Tim Schwartz and Fred Zesiger bought the building that Appanoose Rapids now inhabits in 2007, and at that time the building did not look very appealing, but according to Zesiger it was an easy choice to buy.
“It had a lot of potential,” he said. “All of the bones were there.”
Plus, Schwartz pointed out, the location of the building was ideal. He said the great view of the Jefferson Street Viaduct and Bridge View Center plus all of the parking space behind the building made it the perfect place.
Shortly after they started renovating the building, several of the buildings neighboring Appanoose Rapids, like the one that now houses Market on Main, started drawing interest from people who wanted to spruce up the old structures on the block.