The Ottumwa Courier


October 31, 2012

ISU design students help Ottumwa businesses

OTTUMWA — Downtown businesses get free design services, and Iowa State University marketing students get real-world design experience.

A busload of creative Cyclones came from Ames Tuesday to work with business owners who were willing to listen.

“When I talk to downtown businesses, they tell me they feel there is nothing big going on for them,” said ISU Extension spokesman Himar Hernandez. “Downtown has not been forgotten. This is something we could bring to show we care about them and about downtown.”

Though business owners would have to pay for any redesign to their business, the planning that started Tuesday is free to them. That’s design work that could cost thousands, Hernandez said.

That’s if you can get it at all.

The Bridal Cottage on East Second Street has a situation that creates an interesting challenge not every company wants to take on. The Bridal Cottage is located in a building on the Register of Historic Places. Yet owner Kristie Durflinger has very contemporary tastes.

“A sign written in [flowing] script fits the cottage, but not me. A more modern look [suits] me, but not the building,” she said after the students packed up to head back to Ames.

She’s contacted multiple sign companies. They come up with one design, and if she doesn’t like that one, the company just backs away.

“If I’m going to spend... thousands [of dollars] on a sign, I want it to be the best of several options,” Durflinger said.

She believes most businesses don’t want to start doing a lot of time-consuming design work for free. But the kids who came by Tuesday?

“They were very enthusiastic,” she said.

They took pictures of the front of the building, got a feel for the place — and asked a lot of questions.

“They were excited to take [this challenge] back with them and they said they’d brainstorm ideas,” said Durflinger. “I liked giving them a unique challenge.”

Though the “Design in Action” day was sponsored by the Wapello County Extension Board and South Ottumwa Savings Bank, Hernandez said other entities were at the table to discuss possibilities for improving downtown: The Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation, a mentoring group organized by Gordon Aistrope, Main Street Ottumwa and the City of Ottumwa, which recently began discussions to enforce stricter laws about abandoned or run-down buildings.

“The research shows if you redesign your shops, it will bring people in the door,” he said. “That’s what we want.”

Text Only
  • halo-5-guardians-concept_wallpaper-1920x1080-53cf9b0098ea45ada37dc0f66bc174f5.jpg The Art of Kong

    OTTUMWA — The Mona Lisa. Whistler's Mother. Donkey Kong? Don't be so surprised, said Walter Day, that video games and the surrounding memorabilia are being considered art. The creativity and artistic vision required to create a poster, said the found

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Urbandale comes back to beat Ottumwa Midwest BOONE — Ottumwa Midwest led by seven runs in the fourth inning, but Urbandale National put together a furious comeback to steal the victory, 12-11, on Friday at the 9-10 Year Old Little League State Baseball Tournament. The top of the first saw Ottum

    July 25, 2014

  • 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

AP National