OTTUMWA — A fresh set of facades in one city block could build momentum for the revitalization of downtown Ottumwa.
The city has received conditional approval for a $500,000 grant from the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s downtown master facade improvement program to go toward the projected $1.1 million project.
The remainder of the bill will be footed by $125,000 from the city’s Capital Improvements Program, $250,000 from the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation and $125,000 from property owners in the designated block.
“Ottumwa’s application showed a very transformative impact to the downtown area that included a great partnership between property owners, city and the Legacy foundation, which made their application stand out among all the applications that we received,” said IEDA community investments team leader Derek Lord. “This project in downtown Ottumwa also ties in nicely with the community marketplace, which is currently under construction. It will have more of a catalytic impact in downtown Ottumwa.”
IEDA has conditionally funded 13 Iowa cities in this grant cycle. In total, nearly 30 Iowa communities have participated or are currently participating in IEDA’s downtown revitalization program.
“It’ll be virtually a complete face-lift for the 300 block of East Main Street,” said city Planning and Development Director Nick Klimek. “We received some very positive notes from the state.”
Tuesday’s kickoff event at Hotel Ottumwa brought together the block’s property owners for the announcement of the award.
The project will address 16 of the 18 blighted buildings in the block, which, two years ago, was designated as a slum and blight area. Klimek said the project should be completed 18 to 24 months after the city is officially awarded the grant.
“We picked the 300 block because it’s a strategic location between the Market on Main and the [Capri V] Theatre,” Klimek said. “It will carry the momentum of the market and Appanoose Rapids [Brewing Company] west down the street.”