The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

August 22, 2013

Downtown preparing for lively fall

OTTUMWA — Main Street Ottumwa's busiest season is closing in, with a slew of events to attract people downtown.

MSO executive director Bob Untiedt said the organization's annual events — Margaritas on Main, Walk on Art Street and History Walk — will be mixed in with a couple of new events: a Latin dance club and "Putting Around Downtown."

Starting on Sept. 13, a new Latin dance club will be held monthly at Tequila Grill. An instructor will teach salsa, merengue and cumbia styles for the first half hour, then dancers can practice what they've learned the rest of the night.

When someone walks into his office with an idea, Untiedt's first reaction is if they're willing to put some work into it and help MSO find community support, the idea can move forward.

That's how the Latin dance club was born. During strategic planning, one committee member wanted a place in Ottumwa to go salsa dancing.

"I said, why don't we just make it happen?" Untiedt said. "The most important goal in our organization is to be tighter with business and building owners in downtown Ottumwa. The second most important thing is we want to double the number of volunteers we have in the next two years."

Another new event is "Putting Around Downtown" on Oct. 10. MSO is working with the Ottumwa Area Chamber of Commerce to organize 18 downtown businesses for the miniature golf event.

Teams of four will pay $10 to participate. They'll keep score throughout and at the end, an award ceremony will be held in the grassy area next to Market on Main. So far, nine businesses have signed on and each will set a three- to five-stroke miniature golf hole in their building, using obstacles already in the business to challenge the putt-putters.

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