The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

January 31, 2012

Downtown multi-use marketplace gets boost

Legacy Foundation contributes $350,000 for renovation

OTTUMWA — Three area chefs started talking about how best to design the kitchen at a downtown, year-round community market.

Brad Little, president and CEO of the Ottumwa Legacy Foundation, said it was great to see people working at different places — the Ottumwa Country Club’s head chef, Bridge View Center’s head chef and Indian Hills Community College’s chef in charge of the culinary arts department — all excited about the same project.

“We’re hoping this kind of concept [encourages] even more collaboration,” Little said Monday.

Earlier that morning, he had handed organizers a check for $350,000.

The idea is to renovate an old building into a community marketplace that will have multiple, year-round uses. There will be an indoor farmers’ market along with a modern teaching kitchen, business incubator space and  exhibit areas.

Main Street Ottumwa’s director Cindy Woodbury wrote a grant to the Ottumwa Legacy Foundation, which was started after the sale of the nonprofit Ottumwa Regional Health Center to a for-profit business.

So with those millions of dollars in the bank, the Legacy Foundation uses the interest to support innovative programs that will have an impact on community vitality.

“This [community market], in our opinion, defines what we would consider an opportunity to show some positive change in the downtown area,” Little said. “We’re especially excited to see the multiple partners and supporters involved to make this first step a success.”

The idea had enough merit that Little’s Ottumwa-based charity has given the organizers a $350,000 grant.

Writing effective grants may be one of Woodbury’s strengths, but she said there’s a very large group of citizens in the region who have supported the idea of an indoor, year-round farmers’ market.

“These are just some of the organizations involved,” she said, pointing out a photograph Monday afternoon.

Little was handing Woodbury the check. But also in the photo were representatives from Ottumwa Progress, Inc., the Master Gardeners, Indian Hills, downtown businesses, the City of Ottumwa and the Ottumwa Farmers’ Market.

And no, said Woodbury, this award wasn’t in the form of one of those giant novelty checks used for publicity photos. This was a $350,000 check the director deposited in the bank.

Little named some of the projects that have improved the downtown area, from the lighted bridge to the new businesses beautifying their facades.

He said his board is aware there are other improvements that would benefit Ottumwa, too.

“These are baby steps. We can’t come in and fix everything at once,” said Little. “This was a block grant for renovation of a building.”

This new development at the corner of Jefferson and Main streets could be a linchpin for the area. As the area improves, it would be hard to ignore other infrastructure needs.

Little said this community project needs to be “a win” because that corner is highly visible and has a lot of history. Some of the recent history saw the corner go from business to business to business.

“Sometimes projects like this are about more than the structure of a building, more than the nuts and bolts. They can be a symbol.”

This renovation won’t be another “flavor of the month,” said Little.

“The more conversations we have with Cindy’s group, the more confidence we have that this is a great project to keep things moving,” he said.

Text Only
Local News
  • 0724 OTT Tehel mug -T -M Resolution — Techel verdict reached

    DAVENPORT — The father of a slain Wapello County woman said he began to heal as soon as he heard the guilty verdict today. The jury unanimously pronounced Seth Techel, 23, guilty on charges of first-degree murder and non-consensual termination of a h

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0725 OTT Riverfront design A new outlook on Ottumwa OTTUMWA — A "River Renaissance" is brewing in Wapello County. Planners working for Christian Rushing Studio from Tennessee took the public's ideas, and gave them life via maps, numerical projections and artists' renderings. "Hold onto your seats; you

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0725 OTT Sports EBF softball cover photo EBF advances to State Finals FORT DODGE — Fifth-ranked Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont had a very tough task in front of itself in a Class 2A semifinal Thursday at the state softball tournament at Rogers Park. All the Rockets had had to do was beat top-ranked Highland to reach thei

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Police to parents: check kids' online activities BLOOMFIELD — The Bloomfield police chief says the arrests of nine men in connection with sexting a teenage girl underscores the need for parents to keep an eye on their children online. Chief Shawn Armstrong said cases involving one or two people are

    July 24, 2014

  • 0725 OTT birthday rumble -T -M Age 106, still ready to rumble OTTUMWA — With the stories flowing, Celma Birdsall had the ride of her life Thursday. "She shared a lot of memories," said her chauffeur for the day, Dennis Parrish. Birdsall has built up a lot of stories over the 106 years she's been around. After h

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0725 OTT College Connections color photo -T -M IHCC eases transition to college OTTUMWA — When choosing a college that's just right for you, it is important to find one that works its hardest to ensure your success as a student. Indian Hills Community College is doing just that this week with a College Connections Workshop spons

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0724 OTT Tehel mug -T -M Techel found guilty on both counts

    DAVENPORT — Jurors have found Seth Techel guilty in the 2012 murder of his wife, Lisa, and the couple’s unborn child.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Victim advocates: Helping families cope

    DAVENPORT — Family members of a slain Wapello County woman have someone to lean on — literally and figuratively — while they sit through a murder trial for the third time. Seth Techel, 23, is on trial in Scott County, Davenport. He faces charges of fi

    July 24, 2014

  • 0725 OTT Five Things logo -L -T Five things to do in southeast Iowa this weekend OTTUMWA — There's a wide variety of activities to choose from this weekend in southeast Iowa. Get out and explore the countryside, find some new books to curl up with or help raise money for some great causes. The choice is yours — pick one or attend

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0724 OTT Tehel mug -T -M Jury begins deliberations DAVENPORT — The fate of a Wapello County man accused of killing his wife is in the hands of a jury in Scott County, which began deliberations Wednesday and will continue deliberating today.The jury began deliberations about 4 p.m. Wednesday in the ca

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Photo reprints