The Ottumwa Courier


October 4, 2013

Council candidate profiles


“Those things are so interlinked it's not even funny.”


Skip Stevens

1. Stevens spent more than 45 years working for the city while raising two children here with his wife. He knows the issues facing the city's road networks from his time as public works director. His time also overlapped with the start of the ongoing sewer separation program.

“I think with my experience and knowledge I can add to the city council.”

2. Revitalization of downtown involves multiple factors, from the owners who are willing to work on restoration to the need to change the appearances of buildings. If downtown doesn't look like a business district, it's not going to attract businesses. He welcomes groups who are willing to help.

“Revitalization of downtown is going forward and I'm pleased with the progress on that. The Legacy Foundation has been a big help and I'm pleased with that.”

3. Correcting eyesores is an issue throughout Ottumwa and Stevens said it matters for both residential and business concerns. That hurts efforts to develop the city's economy. Piles of trash or bulky items on the curb used to be picked up once a week without the need to call for specific pickups, and that might have to be revisited. He supports having code enforcement personnel to work on targeting unkempt properties and junked vehicles.

“There's got to be a way. We have out of town building owners downtown who drain every penny and don't give anything back. We're Ottumwa and we need to do what's best for Ottumwa.”

4. Stevens sees potential risk in the failure to maintain the oxbow lagoons as a working waterway. Getting those lagoons back in working order would be a major challenge, but he believes it has significant potential as well. Usable waterways could help boost economic development as well. He's skeptical of turning all of Ottumwa Park over to a sports complex.

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