The Ottumwa Courier

July 6, 2013

Iowa Avenue becoming more industrial

By MARK NEWMAN Courier staff writer
Ottumwa Courier

---- — OTTUMWA — Iowa Avenue could be the location of your next job.

On Monday, the Ottumwa City Council will conduct a second reading of a zoning request: The owners of a plot off Iowa Avenue want the property to go from M1, light manufacturing, to M2, heavy manufacturing.

"M2 is our least restrictive classification," said Nick Clement, director of zoning and planning for the city. "It provides [Carroll Inc.] more options."

Traditionally, it's also the classification where the largest number of residents find work. Currently, the city's two biggest employers, Cargill Meat Solutions and John Deere Ottumwa Works, are both zoned M2. In the past, a former packing plant and brick manufacturer were both large employers.

The property being discussed Monday is at 1135 Hayne St. With more than four acres in the parcel and no factory currently there, the potential for a new or expanding business exists, Clement agreed. And, he added, the owner of the property mentioned economic development as part of their application.

That whole section of Iowa Avenue is scheduled for change. Funding will be made available to the city to assist in the construction of a right-turn lane on U.S. Highway 34 and the reconstruction of approximately 2,500 feet of Iowa Avenue from the highway north to K Avenue, according to the IDOT.

"It's roughly a million dollars," said Clement of the grant from the transportation department.

There are approximately 180 trucks on Iowa Avenue every day. And, said the DOT, the work could provide more than 100 jobs. The improvements will also provide improved access to more than 36 acres for future manufacturing and industrial development, according to the IDOT.

These are all changes around Iowa Avenue that can benefit the community, said Randy Zorn, plant manager for Cargill Meat Solutions. He hadn't heard about the zoning change a neighbor was requesting but knows economic development when he sees it.

"I think anytime you can encourage business growth through those types of improvements to infrastructure or toward allowing additional business [via rezoning], it can be good for Ottumwa," he said Friday.

As for the Hayne Street property, rezoning passed once on July 2, and comes down for the second reading Monday. The council has the option of skipping the third reading and going straight to approval on Monday.

The IDOT project is scheduled to be completed by August 2014.

The city council will hold its special meeting at 5 p.m. Monday at City Hall.

To see reporter Mark Newman's Twitter feed, go to @couriermark.