The Ottumwa Courier

Ottumwa

May 10, 2013

Erasing a 'deficit of hope'

John Deere awards second grant to Market on Main

OTTUMWA — Another grant rolled into Market on Main's bank account thanks to John Deere's confidence in the marketplace having the potential to revive downtown and tackle food insecurity.

Friday morning, John Deere Ottumwa Works donated to the marketplace for the second time, granting Ware with $100,000 from the corporate foundation on top of the Ottumwa factory's original grant of $75,000.

To recognize John Deere for its donations and support of the project, the vendor area of the market — the focal point as visitors walk in the building — will be dubbed "John Deere Hall."

Plant manager Andy Hansen said the market's focus on battling food insecurity and redeveloping Main Street were major factors in why John Deere has donated so much to the project.

"Food security is a big part of our focus at the factory and the foundation," he said. "And redeveloping Main Street is so important for us. It makes it more inviting as we're recruiting employees, and current employees deserve to live in a community with a great downtown. The market is really the cornerstone of redevelopment in downtown Ottumwa."

Hansen said there has been a "deficit of hope" in Ottumwa for too long.

"For so many years, people worried that John Deere would close its doors or another major business would be closing down," he said. "But that's not happening. We have people working together to erase that deficit."

Bidding documents are out and bids are already flying in, said Market on Main Director Heather Ware. She'll return to the city council on June 4 with the lowest qualifying bid and construction will be able to begin the next day if approved.

"It's exciting to see how many people are interested in all the different facets at this point," Ware said. "That many local people are working together to develop the best package."

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