OTTUMWA — Downtown Ottumwa could look very different in the near future, at least from inside your car.
At a special meeting of the Ottumwa City Council on Monday in City Hall’s Council Chambers, councilmembers had a preliminary discussion about converting West Main and West Second streets into two-way traffic for their entire length, all the way from McPherson to Jefferson streets.
While the portions of sewer piping underneath Second and Main streets are being repaired, part of the streets will have to be converted to two-way to accommodate for the construction, according to Director of Public Works Larry Seals.
The portion from McPherson Avenue to McLean Street on both Second and Main streets will be turned into two-way for the time being, and since there is signage and lines that have to be painted there, it only makes sense to continue the construction all the way to Jefferson Street. That would make Second and Main streets completely two-way.
“We’ve got a jump on several blocks that we are going to do anyway,” Seals said in his presentation to City Council.
The portions of Second and Main streets that are not part of the sewer replacement project will cost a good deal of money to change to two-way, but the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation has stepped in to help.
According to Brad Little, president of the foundation, they have been in discussions with downtown business owners about what they want to see talked about around the community and by councilmembers. He said the number-one vote getter from those business owners was looking at changing the one-ways into two-way streets, as long as it is done properly.
“This is something identified many, many years ago,” Little said. “Two-way streets give our businesses a better look.”