OTTUMWA — Each year, the American Planning Association Iowa Chapter selects one city to host its annual chapter conference. Ottumwa has been chosen for 2021.

“I like to think they were blown away by our proposal,” said Andy Wartenburg, executive director of the Greater Ottumwa Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Greater Ottumwa CVB worked alongside Bridge View and Area 15 Regional Planning Commission to develop an overview of Ottumwa’s offerings, which they pitched to APA Iowa. The association’s board selected Ottumwa unanimously.

“We took kind of a different tack with this,” Wartenburg said. “Instead of a two-page document, we had a 30-page document with images, maps, things like that.”

Wartenburg thinks it helped Ottumwa stand out from all the competition. Whereas other communities might limit their pitch to their convention center, CVB, Area 15 and Bridge View presented Ottumwa as its own event space.

While the main event will take place at Bridge View, Wartenburg envisions breakout sessions being held at different locations across town. He said this will give Ottumwa a chance to showcase some the town’s revitalization efforts, such as the streetscape and riverfront projects, as well as support some local businesses.

For now, the conference is set for the first week of October 2021. Wartenburg expects about 225 people to attend.

Jack Langland can be reached at jlangland@ottumwacourier.com.

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