The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

June 18, 2014

Let them eat cake!

OTTUMWA — A celebratory cake ceremonialized a city milestone.

Earlier this week, Ottumwa City Council members, Bridge View Center supporters and the public enjoyed eating a cake, designed to look like the performing arts/convention center, to celebrate the city paying off the building’s bonds on June 2. Now the city only has two additional payments for the furniture and fixtures.

While council members celebrated the milestone, Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Mark Eckman touted the community’s success in capturing more tourism dollars in Ottumwa and Wapello County.

Since his last council visit in early 2014, Eckman talked about the success of the Epic Iowa Road Trip coming to Wapello County. Those efforts were realized as Ottumwa became the first stop on the road trip. The goal of the trip, which touched all of Iowa’s four borders and two rivers, was to “engage Iowans that Iowa can be a travel destination,” Eckman said.

Another of the road trip’s goals was to explore the new, growing and expanding tourism dollars center on culinary tourism, which Eckman noted was a perfect time to showcase Ottumwa’s new Market on Main.

“We received some great compliments from the state tourism board,” said Eckman.

Another great event that was celebrated Tuesday evening was event success and the economic impact of the Bridge View Center.

BVC’s Executive Director Larry Gawronski shared with the council the direct spending and economic impact of Bill Cosby’s appearance in Ottumwa, which brought in 1,578 people with gross ticket sales of $96,564. Net food and beverage sales for the night were $2,100.

More importantly, Gawronski noted, is the direct spending of each of those 1,578 people for dining, fuel and lodging. If each ticket holder spent $20 in the community, he said an additional $31,560 would have been spent. The economic impact for the night is further realized when those dollars ($31,560) are spent again. Thus the one night of Bill Cosby could very well have generated $72,755 in the local community.

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