The Ottumwa Courier

Ottumwa

September 26, 2012

Pursuing tools vital to business

Supervisors, community leaders: High-speed, modern computer service equals economic growth

OTTUMWA — The city and the county agree: If you want decent jobs here, you need to have what companies are looking for.

That’s one of the reasons given by the Ottumwa City Council and the Wapello County Board of Supervisors for agreeing to help bring fiber optics, a  high-speed, ultra-modern computer service, to the area.

The groups were asked to kick in $5,000 each toward the first step. A study to figure out what we have, what we need and how we’re going to get it.

David Barajas Jr., director of Ottumwa Economic Development Corporation, went to both boards this week to ask for a contribution. His agency helps bring jobs to the area by recruiting new companies or by helping existing businesses expand.

The study will cost about $42,000. He now has a promise of $10,000 toward the research.

“This is helpful to David as he is going forward to meet with potential new businesses,” said Brad Little, CEO of the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation.

He said his own nonprofit was offering support to Barajas’ plan because it improved infrastructure and the opportunity for more employment.

“These communication tools are as vital as railroad or the Interstate Highway [System],” said County Supervisor Greg Kenning on Tuesday.

Barajas said when railroad tracks were first being built in this country, it was expensive. But where the railroad went, commerce followed.

Supervisor Jerry Parker voted in favor of supporting the study. In fact, the votes were unanimous from the supervisors and the council. But first, Parker wanted to know what was going to happen with the study.

He said he’s seen a lot of studies over the year. Many of them, even ones done well, end up going nowhere.

“I guarantee you that is not going to happen [where the study] sits on a shelf gathering dust,” Barajas said.

Because to move forward as a community, and to be competitive as a place to invest, we must meet some basic requirements — access to transportation, like a highway, railroad or airport, for example.

Now, one of those necessities is heavy duty broadband, which can serve businesses.

Having the study completed can tell leaders what’s needed, but can also be used in grant applications as the community looks for assistance modernizing its Internet capabilities. This is not going to be a cheap project, or a quick one, Barajas said, but it is an important one.

“Companies [already] here are telling me they need this,” he added. “Our number one priority is ... supporting existing businesses in the community. Bringing in new business, that seems to be the more glamorous part of economic development. But 80 to 85 percent of new jobs come from businesses that are already here.”

That’s what Fairfield and Oskaloosa do, Barajas said. They currently have fiber optics for everyone.

“I think this would benefit every business in town,” said Supervisor Steve Siegel, “and potentially every home in the community.”

1
Text Only
Ottumwa
  • Parks Dept. has long list of projects

    OTTUMWA — The Parks and Recreation Department has approved a list of capital improvements for the next two years that includes the installation of handicapped-accessible swings and new park bathrooms.

    July 9, 2014

  • 0710 Farmers Market Color Photo 1 -L -M Fresh food improves community

    OTTUMWA — Every summer across the Midwest, food stands pop up on gravel roads, and farmers markets are filled with a variety of home-grown products. Finding a fresh selection of healthy greens and juicy fruits isn't as hard as you might think. Accord

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0703 OTT Heart boy photo A Heartfelt Miracle OTTUMWA — It’s funny how wishes can change so completely in just a few weeks. But laughter wasn’t the reaction of Jeff and Mary Penrod.The Ottumwa couple’s son, Brandon, was 18 years old when, in February, Mary took him to the Pella clinic to get loo

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0703 OTT River Hills parking lot color photo -L -T River Hills expansion progresses

    OTTUMWA — Expanding River Hills Community Health Center downtown continues to be a priority with the Ottumwa City Council. Earlier this week, the council authorized city staff to survey the property, prepare a draft developers agreement as well as pr

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Street repair program begins OTTUMWA — If you think roadwork projects in the city of Ottumwa are just about complete, think again. This week, the Ottumwa City Council awarded its preventative maintenance contract for sealing cracks in asphalt and concrete pavement roads througho

    July 2, 2014

  • A new look OTTUMWA — The 300 block of East Main Street in Ottumwa will be getting a facelift. During a public hearing earlier this week, the Ottumwa City Council gave its OK to the plans and specifications to renovate 15 buildings’ storefronts in downtown Ottum

    July 2, 2014

  • City won't tolerate bad behavior

    OTTUMWA — A newly designed policy to establish standards of behavior was presented to Ottumwa City Council on Tuesday night.The new policy’s introduction on Tuesday, demands city staff and elected officials exhibit professional behavior when they int

    July 1, 2014

  • 0702 OTT library grant color photo -T -L -M Ottumwa Public Library updates genealogy room

    OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Public Library is the recipient of a Bright Ideas Community Enrichment Fund Grant from the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation. The Friends of the Ottumwa Public Library group gave $5,520 to put toward a new microfilm reader. The

    July 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0625 OTT Riverfront Renaissance color photo -L -M Riverfront Renaissance begins mapping out ideas

    OTTUMWA — It was serious work to play with stickers and maps Tuesday evening. Concentration was on more than 70 faces as colored dots found their way up and down several maps of the river flowing through downtown Ottumwa. The Ottumwa Regional Legacy

    June 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0624 OTT Marine photos Marine mourned by family

    OTTUMWA --- Adam Wolff's extended family was able to enjoy a bit of time with him before he deployed. "He came back in March, after his [Marine Corps advanced] schooling in North Carolina," said his sister, Angela Malone. "We had a dinner for him, a

    June 23, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National