The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

June 20, 2013

Creating leaders 'in all walks of life'

(Continued)

There are also issues within Ottumwa's three little leagues: American, National and Midwest. Since all three are on separate fields, there is that much more to maintain.

"If they were all centrally located, it would take less money," she said. "You would only have one set of restrooms, one set of concessions."

The business advocate project was geared toward examining the gap between current and prospective business owners and available resources.

Ottumwa needs a "central point of contact," said Kelly Genners, someone who can "play matchmaker" between the empty storefronts and lots and pair them with prospective business owners.

"They would take everything we have and just magnify it," Genners said. "A lot of people want to open a business, but they don't know where to go or who to talk to."

The focus of "Welcome to Ottumwa" was to find ways to grab the attention of newcomers in town and involve them in the community.

"People are coming to town and not being welcomed," said Linda Whittington. "We've talked to people who have moved to Ottumwa, and they said they were welcomed in communities they lived in prior, but when they came here they were just clueless. We're proposing a nonprofit agency, and we developed a website, Facebook, Twitter and postcards that would be handed out at businesses when people move to town."

Another benefit of welcoming newcomers is that they'll be more likely to stay, she said.

"We're really hoping it takes off," she said. "We're proposing that the Chamber of Commerce picks it up and the person is sponsored by area businesses. That person would meet with new residents, give them tours to prospective hires ... and also hold monthly or bi-monthly newcomer events."

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