The Ottumwa Courier

Ottumwa

February 2, 2013

Market on Main director named

Details of layout, vendor participation coming together in downtown marketplace

OTTUMWA — The upcoming marketplace in downtown Ottumwa now has a director to lead the way.

Hy-Vee Dietitian Heather Ware will assume her role as the director of Market on Main next week.

Dianne Haas, who had been serving as the interim director, will continue fundraising for the project.

Market on Main will house a year-round farmers’ market, local small business entrepreneurs and an education component, including a teaching kitchen.

“She’ll be working with all the details of getting it up and running, making contacts with the vendors,” Haas said of Ware’s position.

Vendor areas will include not only food producers, but hopefully crafts, woodworking and more.

“There are lots of opportunities only limited by our own imagination,” Haas said.

Twenty people applied for the director position, and after interviewing four, Ware stood out as the most qualified.

“She’s a local, and that’s great,” Haas said. “We’re  glad to have young people who are interested in our community and giving them an opportunity to live in Ottumwa and have a productive job.”

Finding funding

Haas said the group is now working on its final fundraising effort. So far, they have $500,000 from a CDBG grant, $350,000 from the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation, and additional local monies raised to match the CDBG grant, totaling around $1.1 million. But Haas said they need about $1.4 million before they can open.

The marketplace will house three incubator spaces, some retail space, a certified commercial kitchen, certified storage space for vendors, vending spaces and static markets.

“We still have quite a bit of money to raise,” Haas said. “But we’re working on writing some additional grants. Because this is a food security issue, there are different grants available for that. Providing healthy food for a community is an important thing, not just for those of low- or moderate income. Everyone needs to have access to fresh fruits and vegetables.”

Year-round farmers’ markets are becoming popular, including the Downtown Farmers’ Market in Des Moines, the NewBo City Market in Cedar Rapids and the Freight House Farmers Market in Davenport.

“There are different concepts, but ours is modeled after the Detroit Market and also one in Maine called Barrels Market,” Haas said. “This takes a lot of planning, and we’ve had a lot of partners in it.

“The idea is for us to let people know how to use the vegetables available locally, to buy what’s in season because those are better for their budget.”

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