Courier Staff Writer
OTTUMWA — A new outdoor venue will light up downtown Ottumwa this summer.
Market on Main Director Heather Ware announced Monday that the marketplace was awarded a grant from Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation's Bright Ideas Community Enrichment Fund for its outdoor Green Space, a fully-landscaped outdoor area for events, gatherings and "Meet at the Market" evenings.
The grant will allow for the landscaping of the outdoor space that sits between the market's main building, 331 E. Main St., and the Ottumwa Community Outreach Ministry on the west side.
"It will be not only for entertainment, but an educational piece, too," Ware said. "We'll have seating, so people will have a place to eat lunch or have a Friday evening event. It will be a fun, secure space."
The educational component will come through from a small grant from Hy-Vee to launch a children's educational garden.
"Hopefully in June we'll be ready to go," Ware said. "We'll also unveil some of our ideas for becoming a market member."
The outdoor area will feature a stage for bands to play or acting groups to perform.
"And we're going to do a lot of planting and be as energy efficient as possible," Ware said. "We'll incorporate a water retention feature where gutters will drain into one water storage piece, which we'll use to water everything."
The goal is to make the entire market LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), she said.
"Now we'll start working on getting the pieces put together to landscape and what we'll do volunteer-wise," she said. "We want to make this as community friendly as possible. We'll do our best to look for good, locally-made products, getting them all from Ottumwa sources."
Ware will go in front of the City Council at its work session Monday, where she hopes to gain approval to open up bids for contracting for the indoor area. The council will then choose the lowest bid at its first meeting in June.
"From there we would be able to start construction, depending on who the contractor is," she said. "Hopefully everyone's ready to have fun this summer. We would love to have a celebrity night and get Ottumwa-grown people to come back. It will be a fun space where, if you're looking for somewhere to go on a Friday night, you can come hang out in a family-friendly space."