OTTUMWA — City plans suggest Ottumwa’s TestIowa site will either move or close by the end of the month.
The agenda for a special meeting of the Ottumwa City Council includes discussion of opening The Beach, the city’s aquatics facility, for lap swimming as allowed under Gov. Kim Reynolds’ current guidelines. That opening would take place June 1 under the proposal.
The TestIowa location in Ottumwa opened May 13 as part of a statewide effort to increase testing for COVID-19. It is operated by TestIowa with assistance from the Iowa National Guard. The testing site set up in The Beach parking lot. Originally announced for a three-day period, the testing has twice been extended.
None of the current schedules for TestIowa sites extend past May 29, though Reynolds has spoken about changing the locations for some of the facilities. The information included in the council members’ packets said the Ottumwa location “is scheduled to run through May 29, 2020,” suggesting a measure of finality for the location.
The unusual Friday meeting is scheduled for noon, and will also include discussion of a proposal for a purchase option and resolution in support of a development that would occupy the south half of the Washington Street parking lot.
When the project was discussed by council members in April, there was hesitation. Several members questioned whether the combination of market-rate housing and “transitional” housing for those establishing permanent residences would work. Councilman Bob Meyers asked whether there was a model for such combinations. Planning and Development Director Kevin Flanagan said it had worked in other communities.
Other council members said promises about other projects’ ability to build apartments that properly insulated against noise and other issues seem to have fallen short. Councilman Matt Dalbey called himself “skeptical” and said Flanagan would need “to win me over” if he was to support the proposal.
The council meeting is scheduled for noon Friday and will be streamed live on the city’s YouTube channel.